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Faith Nyasuguta

Uganda has entered into an agreement with a business association from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to construct a new international airport, according to an announcement from President Yoweri Museveni’s office on Friday. 

This development marks the country’s third international airport and signifies the UAE’s expanding economic interests beyond its established foothold in renewable energy and the oil and gas sectors.

Currently, Uganda’s main airport is Entebbe International Airport, situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria in central Uganda. Additionally, Kabalega International Airport is under construction in the oil-rich Hoima District in western Uganda.

The new airport, to be built by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will be located just outside Kidepo National Park in northeastern Uganda, near the border with Kenya. The exact cost of the project was not disclosed in the statement from Museveni’s office. Construction is scheduled to commence in August, as confirmed by Abdallah Sultan Al Owais, chairman of the Sharjah business group.

The new airport is expected to significantly boost tourism, attracting more visitors to the 1,442 square kilometer Kidepo National Park, which is renowned for its lions, giraffes, buffaloes, and other big game. President Museveni highlighted the significance of this agreement, stating, 

“The deal represents the deepening of relations with our Gulf partners and provides another opportunity for cooperation in investment and trade.” Museveni witnessed the signing and shared the news on X, formerly known as Twitter.


Meanwhile, this month has also seen tensions between the UAE and Sudan. The Sudanese government has accused the UAE of exacerbating the ongoing 14-month conflict in Sudan by supplying arms to a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The UAE has dismissed these allegations as “ludicrous” and a “shameful abuse by one of the warring parties.”

This exchange of accusations took place during a U.N. Security Council meeting. Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee highlighted severe human rights violations occurring along ethnic lines in Sudan’s western Darfur region, calling for an immediate ceasefire in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, which is currently under siege by the RSF. Pobee emphasized the necessity of preventing further atrocities, protecting critical infrastructure, and alleviating civilian suffering.

Sudanese Ambassador Al-Harith Mohamed accused the RSF of initiating the conflict with the Sudanese military and targeting civilians with weapons allegedly supplied by the UAE. Mohamed claimed Sudan has evidence of the UAE’s involvement, which it intends to submit to the International Criminal Court.

In response, UAE Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab rejected these allegations as baseless and questioned why the Sudanese government refuses to return to peace talks. Addressing the Sudanese ambassador directly at the Security Council’s table, Abushahab said, “You should stop grandstanding in international fora such as this and instead take responsibility for ending the conflict you started.”

U.N. experts monitoring the arms embargo in Darfur reported in January that there was “credible” evidence of the UAE supplying weapons to the RSF multiple times a week from northern Chad. On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield reiterated a U.S. appeal for all “external actors to stop fueling and prolonging this conflict, and enabling these atrocities, by sending weapons to Sudan.”

Following the meeting, Sudan’s Ambassador Mohamed urged the Security Council to “walk the extra mile by naming and shaming the United Arab Emirates.” Edem Wosornu, operations director for the U.N. humanitarian office, informed the council that the lives of 800,000 civilians trapped in El Fasher “hang in the balance.” 


She expressed concerns about the risk of mass atrocities, noting that the violence in the encircled city “is just the tip of the iceberg.” She reported that indiscriminate bombings are affecting millions in Darfur, sexual violence is rampant, and “famine is imminent.”


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Faith Nyasuguta

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