President Yoweri Museveni has commended the African Union for supporting efforts geared at creating regional economic blocs like ECOWAS, COMESA, EAC, SADC and others, that are aimed at ensuring Africa from economic marginalization and future re colonization.
He said that this is one of the factors that have led African economies to grow at the rate of 5% per annum while some other parts of the world are growing at miserable rates.
The President was last evening addressing African Heads of State and Government, and other world leaders who converged on the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to celebrate the occasion of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the OAU/AU.
The President however cautioned that unnecessary non tariff barriers, unequal distribution of benefits within the economic blocks and insufficient attention to infrastructural development remain obstacles to sustaining and surpassing this growth rate.
The President commended the East African Community EAC for supporting the unity of its people and whose treaty aims at an eventual political federation. He emphasized that economic and political integration were the two factors that can give full meaning to the renaissance of Africa adding that when we are united we are bound to win.
“Africa was colonized because we were not united unlike the Chinese and Japanese who in spite of their inferior technology they were able to unite and defeat European colonialism,” he said.
Turning to the founders of the OAU, President Museveni commended them for their determination to defeat militarily the incorrigible colonial and racist white regimes that were controlling Southern Africa at that time.
He cited FRELIMO led by Samora Machel which by1970s had defeated the big offensive Operation Gordian Knot by the Portuguese General Kaulza D’Arriaga and subsequently to the total liberation of Mozambique
He said that the blows the Portuguese were receiving in Mozambique were duplicated in Angola and Guinea Bissau leading to their independence. These developments in turn led to the collapse of the Fascist Regime in Portugal in 1974.and the defeat of the white minority regime of Ian Smith in Zimbabwe. By 1994 South Africa and Namibia he said had been liberated by military action, lending credence that when Africa is united, nothing can stop it.
The occasion was punctuated by an extravaganza of various African entertainment depicting dance and drama from a number of national dancing troupes. It was earlier addressed by the host Ethiopian Premier and current African Union Chairman H.E Hailemariam Desalegnwho said that the 50th OAU/AU Anniversary was also an opportunity to pay homage to our fore fathers who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for Africa’s independence and the founders of the Organization of African Unity who evolved the Pan African spirit to consolidate the achievements attained at independence, pursue total independence, stability and democracy for the continent. He said Africa’s vision in the next 50 years is to attain full economic integration and attain a middle income status.
The AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and other African Heads of State and Governments as well as other visiting world leaders attended.
Earlier in the day, while contributing to the Jubilee debate during the special commemorative summit of Heads of State and Government held at the AU Commission Conference Centre the Ugandan leader called on international lending agencies of the world to support the development of economic infrastructures in Africa like electricity generation, roads and railways instead of placing emphasis on profit.
The Anniversary celebrations were also attended by the United Nations Secretary General Mr.Ban Ki Moon.