Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said that the progress of Africa is hinged on bigger markets and that the continent is on the right track with regional blocs including the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The President made the remarks on Thursday during the Presidential Breakfast Discussion on regional growth and investment opportunities in East Africa held at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC.
The discussions were also attended by Presidents, Paul Kagame, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Uhuru Kenyatta and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza.
“We are also discussing the African Common Market on tripartite arrangement between EAC, SADC and COMESA,” President Museveni said.
He also noted that economies of Africa in general and East Africa in particular were producing far below their capacity saying, that therefore, everything is an opportunity. Emphasizing that figures speak better than words, the President said the rate of return on investments in Africa was 30% and Asia 6% which he agreed was a better guide.
“We welcomed investors in energy but private companies borrow from expensive sources and transfer tariff to consumers. We need cheap electricity,” President Museveni pointed out, adding, “we are working on ways to resolve the tariff resulting from expensive finance especially for industrial use. “We are now working on infrastructure, on roads, railway, electricity etc, imagine what an impact that will add,” he said. The President also made a case for partnership with Ugandan scientists.
“Our scientists have registered patents; engineering, medicine, food products. You can partner with them,” he urged. On regional security, President Museveni said insecurity in Somalia connected a little with East Africa, and that it was not from within, which too was being worked upon. “We have helped. Pirates no longer steal from ships. The problem is shrinking not expanding,” he remarked, clarifying that there was security at sea.
On the social, economic, political situation in Uganda, the president assured the captains of multinationals at the discussion that Uganda was okay. “You must have heard that Uganda’s Constitution was promulgated by the Constituent Assembly in 1995 and tells how to get in and out of power. Everything is sorted,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, invited investors to invest in East African countries adding, that there were local investors ready to partner with their foreign counterparts.
On the other hand, Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, also the current Chairman of the East African Community, urged Africans to “tell the good story and let people know the good steps being done”. “We cannot give in to hate, we must fight to the end,” he said, further pledging the East African Leaders resolve to fight terrorism and create a conducive investment climate. “We are not looking towards the East, we are not looking towards the west, we are looking for investments,” President Kenyatta concluded.
Adapted From Sarah Kagingo’s Facebook page.
She is the Special Presidential Assistant For Communications