In a significant development for African agriculture and environmental initiatives, Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, has been elected as the chair of the 5th session of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment (ARDWE) of the African Union.
Election and Assumption of Duties
The election of Tumwebaze to this prestigious position occurred earlier this week, with him officially assuming his role on November 17, 2023. He will serve in this capacity for the next two years.
Key Responsibilities and Goals
One of Tumwebaze’s primary responsibilities as the STC Chair includes the critical task of drafting and presenting a successor continental Agriculture Development Program to the African Union summit. This program, known as CAADP 3, is set to follow the MALABO Declaration and is expected to be ready by 2025.
In his acceptance speech, Tumwebaze emphasized the urgency of developing the post-Malabo agenda, highlighting the time-sensitive nature of this task. He stressed the importance of adopting the post-Malabo agenda (2026-2035) before the current MALABO CAADP declaration expires. Furthermore, Tumwebaze proposed that Uganda host the summit where the post-Malabo CAADP agenda will be endorsed, showcasing Uganda’s commitment and leadership in African agricultural development.
Focus Areas and Strategic Goals
Tumwebaze called upon the 5th Session of the STC to focus on core areas that will foster resilient and sustainable food systems, boost economies, and positively impact the African population. He outlined several strategies to achieve these goals, including increasing agricultural productivity, enhancing value addition to agricultural produce, integrating food markets, conducting policy reforms, and revising implementation methods.
The STC on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment is dedicated to reviewing strategic goals, identifying synergies and linkages, and understanding the implications for achieving the objectives of the Malabo Declaration. The Declaration focuses on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, among other roles.
Who is Frank Tumwebaze?
He hails from Kamwenge District. This 46-year-old, an educator and a prominent politician, is renowned for his vocal and eloquent advocacy for Uganda.
As of June 8, 2021, Tumwebaze holds the position of Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries. Born on December 1, 1975, to Matayo Kagyigyi and Beatrice Kagyigyi in Kamwenge District, he is the fifth of seven siblings.
Tumwebaze’s political career is marked by remarkable success. In his constituency, he consistently garnered over 80% of the vote in recent elections. Notably, in the last general election, he was directly appointed as the Member of Parliament for Kibale County in Kamwenge District after the withdrawal of the other candidates under mysterious circumstances.
His political journey includes roles such as Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development from December 14, 2019. Before that, he was the Minister of Information Technology and Communications from June 6, 2016, to December 13, 2019, and also held positions as the Minister for the Presidency and for the Kampala Capital City Authority between 2012 and 2016.
Tumwebaze’s educational background is equally impressive. He completed his A-Level education at Jinja College, then earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Mbarara University of Science and Technology in 1999. He also has two Master’s degrees from Makerere University: one in International and Diplomatic Studies and another in Public Health, obtained in 2005 and 2019, respectively.
His professional career began in 2000 as a customs officer with the Uganda Revenue Authority. In 2001, he transitioned to a governmental role as deputy Resident District Commissioner in Iganga District, a position he held until 2003. He then served as a special presidential assistant for research and information at the State House until 2005.
Tumwebaze entered the political arena in 2006, winning a seat in the parliamentary constituency of Kibale County on the National Resistance Movement ticket, and was re-elected in 2011. Following a governmental reshuffle in 2012, he replaced Kabakumba Masiko as the Minister for the Presidency.
On May 28, 2021, he was appointed to the 11th Parliament’s Appointment Committee, led by the Speaker of Parliament. His parliamentary roles also include chairing the Committee on Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, and being a member of the Committee on Rules, Discipline, and Privileges.
Outside of his political life, Tumwebaze is a devoted family man, married with five children, and practices the Anglican faith.