Well-managed natural resources can transform African economies, Ugandan President says

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell

24 September 2013 – With its own income flow from the exploitation of oil and gas resources, Uganda is now able to transform itself into a modern, sustainable economy, the President of the country told the high-level debate of the United Nations General Assembly today.

“With the resources from oil and gas, we shall be able to fund all our infrastructure needs,” Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said in his presentation on the first day of the Assembly’s annual General Debate. “The future is bright and our forward movement is irreversible,” he added.

Outlining Uganda’s struggle for socio-economic transformation, he said, “our biggest problem was funding; the small colonial modern economy was destroyed by Idi Amin.”

Before the large-scale exploitation of miners, he said, the country had to depend on international funding for development. “Although useful, this external funding was limited, slow in coming, not always focused and erratic.”

Global partnership is still critical for his country, he said, and assistance could still prove useful. First and foremost, he stressed, partnerships should begin by working for economic and political integration of Africa and for market access to the rest of the world.

In that vein, he emphasized African anger regarding “actors who are beginning to make it a habit to ignore African Union positions on African matters.”

A case in point, he said, was the actions of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in relation to the elected leaders of Kenya. “The ICC, in a shallow, biased way has continued to mishandle complex African issues,” he stated. “The ICC should stop…Kenya is recovering. Let her recover.”

Despite of some mistakes by some actors, however, his country had been able to achieve many of the Millennium Development goals, he said, concluding that, “Without any doubt, Uganda and much of Africa are moving forward robustly.”

He is one of scores of leaders to speak at the annual General Assembly session at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.

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