Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary completes its ‘largest ever’ economic development scheme in Africa

The Hungarian government has completed its "largest economic development programme in Africa ever" in Uganda, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Kampala on Friday.
8. December 2023 17:18

As part of the programme, Hungary has helped reinforce Uganda’s financial sector against cyberattacks, Szijjarto said.

Speaking at the inauguration of a cybersecurity project, financed from 1.5 billion forints (EUR 3.9m) of tied aid and implemented by a Hungarian company, the minister said it was designed to increase cyber security capacities and reinforce the system of mobile payments there.

He said the programme served to increase Africa’s security, adding that “Europe’s security largely depends on that of Africa”. He added that cyber security was a crucial component of physical security.

“Uganda’s security and stability are in the interest of Europe and Hungary, with special regard to the fact that Uganda accommodates the largest number of refugees in Africa … that country is an important pillar of regional security and stability,” he said, warning that compromising that stability could trigger further waves of migration impacting Europe.

To reduce the pressure of illegal migration “we need to create a situation in which locals are helped to stay in their homeland and aid is delivered at the source of the problem,” he said.

“Uganda can continue to rely on Hungary in terms of preserving its stability and security,” the minister said.

Szijjarto said the increasing significance of the digital space went hand in hand with an increase in the number and size of cyberattacks “not only targeting the devices of private individuals but jobs, power grids, transport, hospitals, and government agencies … with a special focus on the financial and banking sector.”

Minister calls for cooperation to support stability in Africa

The support of European countries is greatly needed to ensure Africa’s stability, Szijjarto said after talks with Ugandan counterpart Jeje Odongo Abubakar in Kampala on Friday. At a joint press conference, Szijjarto said the security of Europe and Africa was interdependent, adding that Hungary was active in participating in such efforts.

Szijjarto said some of Europe’s security challenges “cannot be resolved without Africa”. Countries such as Uganda could “slow down migration and ensure stability in the region”, he said, but those countries needed support.

Uganda has accommodated some 1.5 million refugees, while the Hungarian government has built three schools for the largest refugee camp in the country, helped with modernising Uganda’s public administration system, set up a mobile health centre and refurbished a cardiology hospital, as well as creating a cybersecurity centre to protect Uganda’s financial sector, Szijjarto said. The Hungarian government is also ready to help with services to refugees, improve drinking water supply, and develop Uganda’s agriculture, he added.

Referring to the global impact of the war in Ukraine, Szijjarto said: “It is clear that soaring inflation and worsening food security is having an impact on those who are in no way responsible for the conflict, whether Hungary or Africa”. He said: “The global majority strives for peace … we may be a minority in Europe and in the Transatlantic region, but we belong to that global majority.”

Later on Friday, Szijjarto inaugurated a cardiology hospital’s intensive care unit upgraded with the help of the experts of Hungary’s medical Semmelweis University. The 3 million dollar upgrade has outfitted the hospital with modern equipment that will contribute significantly to saving lives, Szijjarto said.


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