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EU pledges 85 million to Uganda

Kampala  – The European Union on Thursday pledged 85 million euros (95 million dollars) to help Uganda cope with 1.27 million refugees and asylum seekers, as Africa's top refugee-hosting country was preparing to hold a summit aimed at securing funds.

Uganda's refugee community includes about 950,000 South Sudanese people after a civil conflict in that country sparked the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis.

The East African country also hosts more than 220,000 people from Congo, 37,000 from Burundi and thousands from other countries in the region.

"Uganda's example of helping vulnerable people cope with displacement is an example for the whole region and the world," European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said as he was preparing to attend Friday's summit.

"[No] country can deal with such a high number of refugees on its own," Stylianides said.

About 65 million euros of the EU funding has been set aside

"We require at least 8 billion dollars over the next four years and we expect the summit to raise it," Ugandan presidential spokesman Julius Mucunguzi told dpa.

About 65 million euros of the EU funding has been set aside for pressing humanitarian needs in the areas of food assistance, protection, shelter, provision of water and sanitation, and education.

The remaining 20 million euros will be channelled through the EU Trust Fund for Africa to increase the self-reliance of refugees and the socio-economic development of their hosting communities.

The summit in Kampala is due to be opened by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was visiting refugee settlements in the north-west on Thursday.