Uganda president says economic integration is key to Africa’s progress

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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni addresses a news conference during his official visit to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, December 26, 2014. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri (ETHIOPIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4JBOL

Staff Report

Dubai – Economic integration is key to Africa’s growth and development across all sectors, Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, explained as he addressed audiences at the Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai on Wednesday.

During a special head of state session entitled, “Next Generation Africa – Realising the Promise of Integration”, the Ugandan President underlined the importance of education in addressing the challenges facing African countries. He warned that a lack of integration will inhibit Africa’s ability to establish healthy markets and may potentially worsen the continent’s brain drain.

Museveni called on young people, in particular, to find solutions to the problems facing African societies and be the engine of their development. He urged the youth to focus more on their national identity and less on other affiliations in order to prioritise public interest, build strong societies, and help expand African companies’ footprint into international markets.

“I am proud of my struggle against sectarianism in my country, because sectarianism is backed by foreign interests rather than national ones. I am committed to implementing all measures necessary to build a bright future for my country. This is not an achievement, it is a national effort to firmly place Uganda on the international map, and cement its distinct national identity,” said Museveni.

He stressed his view that African unity is paramount the continent’s progress and development in the future, and noted that Africa is making great strides on economic integration.

“On the political side, however, we have work to do. It is my dream to have a unified African market, where goods flow smoothly between East and West Africa, in addition to larger political integration in order to protect ourselves against global blocs and major countries such as China, India, and America, without isolating Africa from the rest of the world,” he concluded.

The Global Business Forum on Africa 2017, organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was held on November 1 and 2 at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah. The event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Global Business Forum series has become a reliable platform for exploring trade and investment opportunities in promising markets around the world. To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world. – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com