The Obama administration wants U.S. taxpayers to finance the creation of energy-management doctorate and master’s degree programs at a university in the East African nation of Uganda.

Obama, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, wants to help “current and future Ugandan professionals” and others to develop expertise “in sound environmental management and biodiversity conservation in relation to oil and gas development.”

Before doing so, however, those same taxpayers and other interested parties have a chance to submit comments to USAID on the proposed endeavor.

The USAID/Uganda Education for Environmentally Sound Oil Management initiative, as it is known, plans to hire contractors to create Ph.D. and other post-graduate programs at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest institution of higher learning.

While the invitation for comments primarily is designed for contractors seeking clarification of the USAID project’s draft Statement of Work, or SOW, all members of the public may submit their suggestions or opinions. WND discovered the document during routine database research.

The oil industry views Uganda as Africa’s “hottest inland exploration frontier,” since the land-locked country contains “an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of known recoverable reserves, and an estimated potential of six billion barrels,” USAID points out in the draft SOW.

Challenges confront the development of the reserves because of their proximity to the Albertine Rift. The region is home to Murchison Falls National Park, “a popular tourist destination with sensitive habitat important for biodiversity conservation.”

An international treaty known as the Ramsar Convention has designated the Murchison Falls–Albert Delta Wetland System as a “Wetland of International Importance.”

The selected contractor first will assess Makerere University’s capacity to carry out such a program. It then will create and implement oil management curricula for advanced degree programs, provide on-the-job training of professors and eventually offer a continuing education program.

The contractor finally will launch an environmental management and biodiversity research initiative for the university. As part of that research endeavor, it would disseminate or publish its research findings with the goal of building “the capacity and knowledge base of the Ugandan oil sector.”

Comments must be submitted by 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 17 and sent to [email protected] with “Comments on SOW, USAID/Uganda Education for Environmentally Sound Oil Management” in the subject line.

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