Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Africa should strive and start a continental media outlet that would promote African interests, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said. He said this while delivering a lecture on opportunities to a visiting delegation of Senior Military Officers from the National Defense College of Kenya led by the Deputy Commandant of the College Major General Kahariri.
The delegation that arrived in Uganda on December 2 on a study tour, comprises officers from Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana, Tanzania, and Kenya. Museveni said that until the continent gets a channel like the Doha-based Al Jazeera, whose primary focus is the Middle East and the Arab World generally, the African message to the world would never get out.
Museveni also stressed that the socioeconomic transformation of African societies can only be achieved by encouraging the population to join the money economy through modern commercial and calculated agriculture.
“In 1969 only 4% of the population in Uganda was in a money economy until 2013 when the number increased to 32%. Today 61% of the people in Uganda have joined the money economy. So commercial agriculture with calculation,” Museveni said.
Museveni said another channel of transforming society is through education adding that in Uganda the government adopted the universal primary and secondary school education program to enable all school-going children to attain knowledge.
He said once the population wakes up and increases production there will be a need for markets emphasizing the need for the promotion of the principles of NRM that include Patriotism and Pan-Africanism needed for the expansion of the national, regional, and international markets for the increased farm production.
Museveni who took his guests through the European history that saw the society transform from peasantry to middle and skilled classes added that in Uganda the government worked on the recovery program and is now in the process of diversifying and expanding the economy.
He noted that products that were initially considered for consumption only like maize, Cassava as well as milk, and beef have now been diversified for commercial purposes. He added that Uganda is today very active in the sector of the pathogenic economy involving pharmaceuticals, making of vaccines, and sanitizers.
“When Corona came, Uganda was the first country in East Africa to start making sanitizers, this is another category of industry. This is the economy we are using to transform society,” he said. He said the government is also bringing on board new industries like the designing and manufacture of electric vehicles buses and cars like the Kiira vehicles named after the river Nile. “We are now moving towards the knowledge and skills Industry,” he observed.
Commenting on some of the concerns raised by the military officers like the value addition, Museveni cited coffee whose process has been a huge struggle. He noted that the value of coffee in the whole world is $460 billion and the coffee producers in the whole world share US$ 25 bn and Africa earns only US$ 2.5 bn and Uganda gets only US$ 800 million.
He stressed that the struggle will continue as jobs and money is lost in the process of exporting raw material. The delegation was accompanied by the Ambassador of Kenya to Uganda Ambassador Rtd. Major General George Owino while moving a vote of thanks commended Museveni for inviting the group to Uganda and for a fruitful lecture that enlightened them on several issues.