A total of forty-five UPDF officers and militants have been awarded Certificates, Diplomas and Masters in French language proficiency by the Ambassador of France to Uganda Stephanie Rivoal.
The graduation ceremony of both UPDF soldiers, and civilians, was conducted at the French Embassy in Nakasero, Kampala on Friday.
Rivoal congratulated graduands upon their new achievement, explaining that the French language is shared by over 275 million people across five continents with the figure being projected to reach 700 million people in 2050 with over 80% being in Africa.
She emphasized the relevancy of the language to UPDF soldiers serving in peace keeping missions where French speaking nations also have a stake.
“Using French will ease communication in such missions and will market you both at regional and international levels,” she noted.
“UPDF soldiers need to interact with other French speaking forces like Burundians while on peace keeping missions like in Somalia for the AMISOM but this can only be possible through learning the French language.”
The Ministry of Defence and UPDF spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire applauded the French Government for strengthening the cooperation with Uganda in a number of areas including communication, cultural enhancement, sports and building military capabilities among others.
“Acquiring proficiency in the French language creates more opportunities for the UPDF. We are in an era where we have to support each other in training and while conducting peace support operations, like the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” noted Brig Karemire.
He added that French troops have enhanced the military capabilities of UPDF troops at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre-Singo and awakened the ease of maneuvering in a mountainous environment by creating and training the mountain brigade.
At the same occasion, the France-Uganda Alumni, a network of Ugandans who studied in France was also launched.
The French Government awarded the best overall student Lt Tom Maiga with a scholarship to study in France.