The French Government intends to increase its annual commitment of soft loans to Uganda in order to boost regional energy projects, as well as the water and sanitation sector.
The French ambassador to Uganda, Aline Kuster-Menager said that through the French Agency for Development (AFD), France plans to double its credit commitment from the current €30million to €60million, to boost the East African regional energy market.
The funding for the €23million Hoima-Nkenda transmission line has been approved, while €40million is earmarked funding next year for the Masaka-Mbarara and interconnection from Masaka to Mwanza in Tanzania.
She said that €30million will finance a UMEME project to reduce energy losses.
She was on Friday speaking during a ceremony to mark the French national day also called the Bastille Day.
In 1880, July 14 was adopted as an annual national holiday in memory of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 during the French revolution.
The ceremony in Uganda was held at the ambassador's residence in Nakasero. Present were members of the French community living in Uganda, diplomats, government officials, ministers, and members of Parliament.
Ambassador Kuster-Menager also said a new programme is planned to provide water for production in Kiruhura, Kamuli and Lira districts.
The discovery of oil and gas in the East African region presents a unique opportunity to accelerate development of the region and the people, she observed.
"With oil and gas prospects in the various EAC countries, including recently Kenya, but also further south Mozambique, the East African region may become a key player on the world oil and gas scene," Kuster-Menager said.
She said that Uganda is well-placed to lead the onshore development, adding that strong laws, a finance and regulatory framework complying with international standards, will ensure that the oil resource benefits Ugandans.
This, to be achieved, will necessitate clear political guidance, a strong governmental coordination process and a commitment of all stakeholders, the French envoy said.
The minister of energy and mineral development, Irene Muloni, who represented government, said Uganda appreciates France's bilateral and multilateral interventions in development cooperation in the fields of water, energy, environment and support to the private sector.