Ladies and gentlemen.
I welcome you most warmly for agreeing to have this Conference in Uganda.
Robusta coffee (emwanyi), is indigenous to Uganda. Coffee is not a food but a beverage. Nevertheless, that beverage, is quite useful as a stimulant that is friendly to the human body. Especially people in cold countries, need this stimulant. It is the richer people, that can afford to buy coffee. People with less incomes, tend to drink tea ─ another beverage.
Some years ago, the global demand of coffee was 118million bags of 60kgs each. The global demand is now 160million bags of 60kgs each. Why? Apparently, as already pointed out above, affluence converts some of the tea drinkers into coffee drinkers. This trend would, therefore, be good for the coffee producing countries like Uganda.
However, out of the US$460billion global coffee value, the coffee producing countries only take US$25billion and Africa gets only US$2.4billion, with US$845million going to Uganda because we are now producing 8million, 60kgs each, bags plus now. A non-coffee producing country like Germany, earns US$6.85billion!! This is part of the iniquities of the present global parasitic system.
In the last 60years, I have been involved in the struggle against this modern slavery for Africa ─ the curse of producing raw-materials for cleverer people in the world to add value to those raw-materials and get much more value from them. A kg of bean coffee of good quality, may go for US$2.5 per kg. The same quantity of coffee roasted, ground and packaged may go for US$40. This is where there is massive haemorrhage of money from the global South to the global North. It is not only the loss of money per kg. It is also the loss of jobs. If you take the whole spectrum of raw-materials from agriculture, minerals, forest products, etc., the loss to Africa is massive.
That is why the economy of Africa is stunted. The GDP of the whole massive African continent, with a population now of about 1.5billion people, is USD2.7trillion. What are the GDP sizes of other, much smaller, individual countries? Here below are some examples:
1) USA – US$25.46trillion
(2) China – US$17.96trillion
(3) Japan – US$4.23trillion
(4) Germany – US$4.07trillion
(5) India – US$3.38trillion
Even little South Korea has a GDP of USD1.67trillion, nearing the size of the African GDP. It must be pointed out that even this USD2.7trillion is a recent development because the African economies are said to be growing at a fast rate compared to others in the world. Otherwise, Africa’s GDP was only USD500billion some years ago. However, much of that growth may be quantitative, not qualitative ─ producing more raw-materials.
Right from the student days in our Movement in the 1960s, we put forward the strategy of building Uganda’s economy as an Independent, self-sustaining one, with both vertical and horizontal integration.
We have succeeded somehow in some sectors, such as the dairy, fisheries, textiles, sugar, leather, etc., sectors. However, in many sectors, including the coffee sector, we are still losing alot of money and jobs, on account of this distortion. That is why I banned completely, some years ago, the export of unprocessed minerals such as iron-ore, blister copper (94% pure), wolfram, tin-ore, lithium, uranium, etc. You have heard of the quarrels going on in Niger, in West Africa, about uranium being taken to Europe when the kilowatt per capita in Niger is 51. The GDP of Niger is USD613.93. Uganda’s kilowatt hour per capita is now 300; that of the United States of America is 12,000 and Iceland is 54,924. Uganda has got alot of uranium. Some years ago, a Western company came and proposed to mine the uranium. I asked them: “Mine it and take it where?” They said: “Export it.” I asked them: “Export it for what purposes?” They told me that it was for the purposes of generating nuclear energy for electricity and other uses such as medicine, vector control, etc. I, then, asked them: “Have you heard a rumour that there are human beings here in Uganda who need electricity, nuclear medicine and vector control services? Why don’t you propose to build that capacity here for the benefit of these human beings who live in Uganda and, maybe, we can put aside some quantity of uranium for supporting the economies of our friends in the West?” They never came back. We have now agreed with the Russians and Koreans to build two nuclear power stations for electricity of 15,600mgws total.
The biggest apposition of our plan of building an integrated national economy, has been, mainly, internal, from some elements of the political and bureaucratic classes who perform the role of the comprador bourgeoisie ─ agents of foreign interests, Mao Tse Tung talked about in China. Unlike the national bourgeoisie who build our economy, the comprador bourgeoisie (raw-materials exporters, importers of foreign products that can be made here, commission agents), bleed our economy. The national bourgeoisie (manufacturers, hotel owners, tourism operators, professional service providers such as doctors who treat people here instead of patients going out for treatment, internal distributors of our products such as food), build our economy.
Therefore, we the raw-materials producers, we need to conduct internal struggles in our respective countries to add value to these raw-materials, including coffee ─ so that we earn more from our sweat and create more jobs for our youth instead of dying in the Mediterranean going to Europe. We also need to sensitize our partners in the countries that have been buying our raw-materials at semi-slave prices, that their economics is defective. What will the USA or Europe or Asia lose, if Africa sells added value coffee to them instead of the raw-material form and earn more money? What if the value addition is done to the other raw-materials ─ copper, gold, iron-ore, lithium, etc.? Money to Africa, will mean higher purchasing power for Africa. The Africans who now lack electricity, will be able to afford to pay for electricity. Where will the turbines come from? Will they not come for Europe, USA, Russia, China, or from other partners? How can greed obscure rationality to such an extent?
Global affluence will benefit everybody. Down with Imperialism, down with parasitism, long live the win-win strategy.
I thank you.