President commends EU-Uganda solidarity

Wednesday 10th May 2017

President Yoweri Museveni commended the European Union (EU) for their solidarity with the people of Uganda and observed that the partnership has helped Uganda to recover economically. He expressed appreciation for the assistance that Uganda has been receiving from Europe but stressed that it should be more focussed on the improvement of the economy.

“From the 1980s we agreed with you people that private sector led growth, sometimes mixed with public enterprise here and there, is the right way to go. However, what we did not agree with you is to emphasise that if that is the case then the private sector led growth needs some facilities of low cost of electricity, transport, communication and money for borrowing so that the sector can minimise costs in order to make profit, ’he said.

The President made the remarks at the residence of the European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, in Kololo as the people of Europe celebrated 60 years of the unity of the European countries into a single market.

The President, who was chief guest, congratulated the people of Europe over their unity and observed that Europe, which as a continent had been plagued by wars in in the past, has had peace for the past 70 years because Europeans appreciated the sharing of challenges and opportunities among themselves. He used the occasion to emphasize that market access is a very important stimulus for global prosperity

“People talk about isolation. I don’t know how they will solve that issue. Certainly, Uganda is just coming from low-level production. If we did not have regional markets, even global, our job would be impossible. When I buy what you produce, you are supporting my prosperity,” he said.

He said that the future of Africa and Europe will be bright if the opportunities that now exist between the 2 continents are used seriously, deliberately and realistically. He observed that both Europe, which has a population of about 500 million and Africa, which will have a population of 2.5billion in the next 30 years, are bound to share tremendous opportunities of prosperity in the future as long as collaborative arrangements between the 2 continents are handled correctly.

He reminded Europeans that their relationship with Africa should be premised on the opportunities that are available in Investments, Trade and Tourism (ITT) adding, “once the three things are put in the forefront, there is nowhere we can go wrong.”

He noted that Africans have historical links with the people of Europe saying that those links should be used deliberately for the mutual benefit of the 2 continents. He assured the 28 EU member states of the steady economic development of Uganda noting that this positive trend is attributed to having enough electricity in the country.  He assured Uganda’s development partners in Europe that our economy is growing very fast. He added that the country will not experience electricity deficit again.

The President, who appreciated the EU support on the roads sector in Uganda, faulted the Union for not being in the forefront in the general economic development of Uganda.

“The Chinese have given soft loans and they are undertaking all the constructions of hydro power stations and roads because if we don’t deal with infrastructure, like electricity and railways, among others, the cost of doing business will be high,” he said.

President Museveni further called on the EU to put their emphasis on the growth of the Ugandan economy other than areas of human, children and homosexuals’ rights.

“The first rights should be the growth of the economy. If the economy is growing it will lower costs in order to attract private investment and the future would be easy to handle,” he advised.

On his part, the EU Ambassador to Uganda, Kristian Schmidt, reiterated the EU’s partnership with Uganda in supporting the African Mission on Somalia (AMISSOM)  that has so far seen the disbursement of between Euros 1 - 3 billion over the last 10 years.  He reported that European Union, under the programme of external Investment Plan, is expected to earmark Euros 44 billion under UN Investment plan for Africa 2020.

He expressed the EU’s request to the government of Uganda to promote further the development and observation of democracy, security and youth empowerment in the country. 

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