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MUSEVENI: I love that man Trump

Museveni flanked by other African leaders at the TANA forum in Ethiopia. PHOTOS PPU

Museveni pushes for home-based value addition on Africa’s minerals – they belong to country

President Yoweri Museveni has urged African leaders to stop what he described as ideological meandering. Leaders, he said, should thoroughly discuss and distill positions which can help their people transform and develop using their natural resources.

Museveni added that focus should be on home-based solutions and self reliance. He said new US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies will jolt Africans into the reality of their situation.

“I love Trump. I love that man Trump because that man has told you that he is not your uncle. And I think it is good. For those Africans who feel orphaned, am sorry for them. Let’s come back to our continent and mind our own affairs,” Museveni said.

Museveni was speaking Saturday at a discussion on “Managing Natural Resources In Africa: Challenges and Prospects,” at the ongoing 6th High Level Forum on security in Africa at Blue Nile Hotel, Bahir Dar in Ethiopia.

The president spoke passionately about processing Africa’s minerals from Africa to create jobs and get more value from their resources, illustrating his point by saying it was “foolish to give your neighbor firewood when you don’t have firewood in your house”.

“We have a lot of Uranium. Canadians came and said they wanted to take to Canada to process it from there and I said it will stay in the ground until we build own nuclear power station because am not a fool to give firewood to my neighbor when I don’t have firewood in my house,” he said.

Education is not only solution

President Museveni who disagreed with some of the presenters who said education was the solution to solving Africa’s problems said policy mistakes by both technocrats and polictical leaders have led to various problems in Africa.

“That if you educate your people, everything will be okay? This was part of mistakes in 1960. This fragmented thinking, fragmented vision is incorrect. If you educate people but you don’t have infrastructure including electricity, where will they work? How will they work”? the president said.

The president used the example of the Phillipines which he said has its citizens working all over the world because they don’t have jobs in their own country while South Korea has its citizens working home.

“We in Uganda have identified 10 strategic bottlenecks and our view is that they all must be handled together. These include ideology, state formation, infrastructure development, market integration –

If I produce but do not have enough buyers, how will I benefit?”

Museveni said while Africa is at a structural disadvantage in that great ideas do not apply to the whole of Africa, the Tana Forum can still spread the ideas throu ‘osmosis’. He said it takes good ideas to spread on the continent to consolidate its gains and urged all Africans to come together and achieve this.

“Africa has a structural disadvantage. We are not like China. In China when there is one good thinker…the whole china follows them. Here, you may have good ideas in Ethiopia but they are localized and do not apply to the whole of Africa. This forum can help ideas spread by osmosis,” he said.

He urged all Africans to come together and achieve this.

Who owns the resources?

Museveni also urged the forum to focus on who owns the natural resources on the continent.

“On issue of mineral resources, my question is who owns the minerals. With petroleum we have production sharing agreements (PSA) where the company which has exploration licences agrees with government to pay so much to regain what they invested and the rest is for government,” he said, adding that, it is not clear what the case is with other minerals including where companies own minerals but governments have loyalties.

“In Uganda, am not bothered with minerals because Uganda has been developing at a good rate depending on agriculture and industry. We discovered petroleum about 12 years ago but up to now we have not exploited it because I could not agree with those companies. They wanted to cheat us. I said no, the petroleum has been in the ground for the last many years it can stay there until we agree. That is because in my view, minerals should belong to the country,” he said.

Mineral rich Uganda

Museveni also emphasized locally based value addition for countries to fully exploit their natural resources for the benefit of their people.

“We have got huge reserves of iron ore in Uganda. Indians came and said they want to export soil to India and process it there. If they take as soil, they would pay $38 per tone. Our iron ore is 70% pure, one of the best in the world, only second to Peru. When steel prices are high instead of $38 per tone, you get$900. I said nobody will take an ounce of iron ore from Uganda until we agree.. up to now its still in the ground,” he said.

He revealed that the government agreed with the Chinese to process locally the lover version magnetite which they are using to produce steel.

On petroleum, Museveni said various companies tried to convince Uganda to export its petroleum from abroad and where discouraging the country from building an oil refinery saying it was not economically productive.

“I was told Uganda does not need a refinery because it was not productive and not economic that means those with refineries are Mother Theresas’ working for nothing. I went to Iran and asked how many refineries they have and they said they got 9 and building another 6. I said no refinery no oil. It is still in the ground until we agree,” he said.

What is TANA?

The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is an annual meeting that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. Currently in its 6th edition the Forum is at the forefront of initiating dialogue with the continent’s policymakers and influencers.

 

The Forum complements formal meetings of African heads of state and government by assembling them in an informal, collaborative environment. In the spirit of gatherings taking place under the Baobab tree, the Forum offers room and space for panel discussions, interaction with the floor and bilateral talks to share views and experiences in a time efficient, results-oriented and open manner.

“Frank, relevant and candid dialogue is fundamental to resolving conflict and transforming societies,” explains TANA organisers.

The Tana Forum promotes African-led solutions by holding discussions on the strategic and pro-active management of African peace and security issues driven by the interest to contribute to stronger ownership of these issues.

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editor@independent.co.ug

 

5 comments

  1. I like your thinking. We should begin to look inward,make proper developing policies,stop compromising our positions. Stop accepting anything that comes like beggers. It is only good ideas and reasonable implementation not just talking that can move Africa our dear continent forward. President, you are reasonable.

  2. M7 is quite right, the imperialists get so many useless reasons to plunder Africa’s resources, even after the lucrative slave trade, they aren’t done. They keep changing the game plan but with mischievous interests behind their mind.

  3. When abroad, museven reasons and talks sense of exactly what Africa needs to develop but here, millions are languishing in extreme poverty that leaves me guessing who exactly fails him back home. ‘oh kumbe Kabaka tayala wuwe’ the man gave a very brilliant speech, oba asigale eyo affuge ethiopia!

  4. If we are to stay focused on the issue at hand, Mzee (as the majority of Ugandans refer to President Museveni) has proven to be a practical philosopher of modern and post-modern African times. For the African sisters and brothers that have lived, studied or worked elsewhere from the mother continent would agree with me that for an African that strives to think and wish the best for his/her continent will often run into collision with those from elsewhere that harbor vested interests in our continent. Their interests often (if not all the times) run counter to African interests. Many examples have been given by this Philosopher of modern and post-modern African times including instances of Global “Development Organizations” advising African countries against constructing sizable hydro power dams because they “lacked” the capacity to consume the generated energy! Therefore thinking and wanting the best for Africa will not make you a darling to those with vested interests in mother Africa. Fake love has never counted. We prefer to be darlings to our own.

    We are lucky to be living in our times. The continent is coming closer by the day, intra-Africa trade volumes are growing, regional efforts are starting to bear fruits of successful conflict resolutions, all types of infrastructure are being laid to interconnect African regions and yes Africa is getting stronger enough to defend herself. As those that colonized and exploited us yesterday start to disintegrate, they are running back to us (Africa) for “partnerships” to sustain their economies and global influences. This time they are finding us very awake, self-conscious and ready to deal with them at own terms. As one African slang goes “Amaaso kulutimbe” vaguely translating “watch this space”

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