India’s Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari has announced his country’s offer of $3 million to boost the health sector. India has also agreed to share its experience and expertise in the IT sector.
According to a statement at the end of Ansari’s 3-day visit, India has offered Uganda medicines worth $2 million and medical equipment worth $1million.
The two sides also agreed to encourage collaboration between India and Uganda in the area of ICT development. Uganda expressed its desire to replicate some of India’s schemes for digital inclusion while implementing its Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) project and thanked India for deputing an ICT Expert in the Office of the Minister for ICT.
At their bilateral meeting at State House Entebbe, President Yoweri Museveni told his guest that Uganda, like any other African country, still faces a challenge of bottlenecks in the education, health and infrastructure among others; adding that there is need to address those challenges for sustainable economic growth based on interests rather than the factor of identity.
“In economic development, identity or citizenship should not be a big issue but interrelationship should be a priority. African countries have a lot of problems like underdevelopment because of lack of powerful economic groups with one interest,” he said.
Museveni shows the Indian Vice President Lake Victoria as seen from State House.At a joint press conference that followed the bilateral talks, Museveni said that India and Uganda have had longstanding political relationship and that the two countries fought colonialism together in the struggle for freedom and independence.
“India attained its independence first and supported us get independence and since that time we have been in cooperation in many areas especially medicine, education and military. Therefore, our relationship is long standing and respectable,” said Museveni.
Museveni disclosed that the bilateral trade between India and Uganda, involving goods and services such petroleum products, automobiles and machine products, among others, stands at $ one billion and $57 million respectively.
Museveni expressed strong optimism about the growth of bilateral trade between Uganda and India and observed that in the future, East Africa will assemble and manufacture vehicles in the region.
“The purchasing power is growing. So the buying and selling capacity will increase in the future because of mutual benefit,” he added.
Regarding the medical sector, Museveni said that Uganda has established specialized hospital facilities, like Lubowa Hospital, for heart, kidney and brain surgery to reduce medical costs that Uganda has been expending on what he called ‘medical tourism’ to India.
Vice-President Ansari, said the bilateral discussions that he had had with President Museveni were fruitful for stronger political ties, development cooperation, the agricultural sector growth, information technology, the energy sector and the training of personnel in space technology, among others.