Liberate rural land through electricity, industrialization – Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has said that it is not just the leadership deficit that Africa lacks but ideology and strategy. He said this Sunday as he rallied other African leaders to harmonize their thinking on issues to do with land, in-land water and Ocean resources for the continents development.
The President was speaking Sunday at the 6th High Level Forum on Security in Africa on the topic, “Land, In-Land Water and Oceans Resources: Governing Access, Control and Usage” at the Blue Nile Hotel in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The forum was held under the theme; Natural Resource governance in Africa.
“On the issue of land in the tropics, it is important that we urgently liberate rural land from human beings. The populations looking for farmland are cutting down trees, invading wetlands and forests and silting the existing water bodies like lakes and rivers.”
“How do we liberate rural areas? Through provision of electricity for their domestic use – to stop them from cutting trees for firewood. And introducing industrialization so that the population is restructured away from the land to industries,” he said.
According to reports, Uganda has lost nearly a third of its forest cover since 1990 due to expanding farmlands, a rapidly growing human population and increased urbanisation. In 1990, Uganda had more than five million hectares of forest cover but by 2005 only 3.5 million hectares (8.6 million acres) remained, the report, published by Ugandan’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), said.
If deforestation continues at the present rate Uganda will have lost all its forested land by 2050, it warned. On average 10 percent of the population of Uganda has access to electricity, while the rest make do with firewood for cooking.
Museveni cited the USA which has a population of over 320million people but only 2% of its population is in Agriculture while the rest is in industry while in Africa over 80% of the population is in Agriculture and even then, it is primitive agriculture.
The Ugandan president told the session moderated by Beinda Moses a media strategist and Consultant from South Africa that included Amd. Gunter Nooke, the Germn Chancellors Personal Representative for Africa, Amd. Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security at the African Union Commission, Ali Mufuruki, founder and chairman, Infotech Investment Group Ltd, Tanzania and Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, Executive Secretary at the United Nations Economic Commission in Africa, that activities along interstate lakes and rivers must be modernized especially along the whole of the Nile valley.
Museveni said it is not only leadership that is a deficit in Africa but most importantly ideology and strategy to unite the continent and take it forward.
The president said you can’t talk of protecting resources with countries divided along colonial lines thus the need to push for political federations in East Africa and Central Africa who share common borders.
“You can’t have citizens of one country controlling the resources of another as single entities unless we all work together,” he said.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn the host said unless the continent manages its natural resources properly, they will become a source of contention.
“If natural resources have to contribute to human development, they ought to be used productively. Natural resources need to be transformed to manufactured capital and human capital. Specific policies are needed for that to happen,” he said.
Museveni left for home after his two day working visit and was seen off at Bahir Dar Airport by the President of the Amhara regional state, Gedu Andargachew.