Museveni calls for Africa’s industrialisation


UGANDAN President Yoweri Museveni says Africa’s propensity for consumption of foreign products at the expense of its own has left the continent economically stagnant and has called on African leaders to industrialise their economies for the continent to be self-sustaining. Speaking at State House in Lusaka yesterday during the State lunch to commemorate Zambia’s 52nd Independence Day celebrations, President Museveni said it was time for Africa to wake up or risk being irrelevant like the olden-day African chiefs who failed to mobilise their subjects against the slave trade which ravaged the continent. He said there was no way Africa could talk about prosperity when it was busy exporting its raw materials, only to import finished products made from its own raw materials from overseas, adding that Zambia and Uganda could work together and become a centre of excellence by coming up with an electronic industry which would produce materials needed for manufacturing things like computers. “I think Africa must wake up or we will be like the chiefs of olden days who let us down because they failed to organise us against slave trade. Africa continues to consume what it doesn’t produce and does not consumer what it produces. The solution is to expand Africa’s production in agriculture, in industries, in services, and in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). ‘‘Zambia and Uganda can work together to be countries of excellence in terms of electronic equipment by coming up with a fully decorated electronic industry since the countries produce minerals,” President Museveni said.   He also said it was astonishing that while the rest of the world was talking about superiority in their marines, air force and ground troops, Africa was taking things business as usual, thereby making the continent insecure. “Africa must be able to defend itself. There is a lot of insecurity inside and around Africa. We suffered under colonialism as well as under the slave trade and we are still suffering from other challenges, some of which are perpetrated by outsiders from other countries but African countries must wake up and defend itself. ‘‘The rest of the world wants to be superior on land, in space, at sea and in the air but what is Africa doing? We are just sitting here talking about tribe, eating nshima and a few other things,” he said, amidst applause from the audience. And speaking earlier, President Edgar Lungu commended President Museveni for his exemplary leadership in the region and Africa as a whole as demonstrated not only by his commitment to uplifting the lives of the people of Uganda, but also his relentless efforts and enduring dedication to the resolution of conflicts within the Great Lakes region. President Lungu said Zambia was looking forward to collaboration with other African countries to challenges affecting the co0ntinent such as high unemployment levels and unpredictable weather patterns. “It is my firm belief that now, more than ever before, there is need for greater collaboration among African countries to seek and find African solutions to the urgent and unique challenges that we face after so many decades of political independence. These challenges include high unemployment levels amongst our youth; unpredictable weather patterns resulting from climate change; poor mobilisation of local resources, and various isolated conflicts within the region. “Zambia, therefore, looks forward to the continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest with your Excellency’s government, particularly in the areas I have highlighted, as we deliberate on them at both bilateral and various multilateral fora.