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Ugandan minister quits after taking up World Bank job

June 3, 2014 (KAMPALA) – A Ugandan minister has relinquished her position days after she was appointed senior director for fragility, conflict and violence at the World Bank late last month.

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Betty Bigombe in talks with LRA negotiators (FILE/Reuters)

Betty Oyella Bigombe, hitherto, the state ministers for water resources early this week submitted her resignation letter to president Yoweri Museveni in preparation for her new job, which begins on 1 July.

The World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said Bigombe had “exceptional technical expertise and a proven track record of delivering results, building effective teams, and working collaboratively.”

A Harvard-trained graduate, Bigombe made headlines when she initiated contact with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony in June 1993 and was subsequently named Uganda’s woman of the year for her efforts to end the violence that year.

Despite meeting with Kony, however, the talks collapsed in February 1994. Soon afterward, the insurgency intensified and no significant efforts towards peace would be made for the next decade.

Between 1997 and 2001, she worked at the World Bank as a senior social scientist. Bigombe reportedly also provided technical support to the Carter Center in a successful mediation effort between the governments of Uganda and Sudan in 1999 and 2000.

In 2007, she received the Peacemakers in Action Award from the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, prior to her appointment as the chairperson of the National Information and Technology Authority in Uganda (NITAU) two years later.

(ST)