By Felix Osike in Kigali
President Yoweri Museveni has advised the youth to have ideas that can develop their respective countries.
Speaking at the official opening of the 49th annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday, Museveni also said the growth of African economies has been miraculous.
Among those present were presidents Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon, Mohammed Abdelaziz of Mauritania, Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto, former heads of state Benjamin Mkapa and Festus Mogae and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dlamini Zuma.
Left-right: Benjamin Mkapa (ex-Tanzanian president), AU Chairperson D. Zuma, Rwanda’s Finance Minister Gatete, Gabon President Ali Bongo, Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, Mauritania's Abdla Aziz, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, ADB's Donald Kaberuka and Botswana’s former President Sir Ketumire Masire during the official opening of African Development Bank Annual meeting, in Kigali Rwanda. PHOTO/PPU
The session was moderated by Jenerali Ulimwengu, a Tanzanian journalist.
Museveni was asked how much he values the contribution of the youth in Uganda and how much he has involved the youth in economic and social development of Uganda.
“It is obvious that I value the youth of Uganda. However, I think even Amin in some way valued the youth also. But the issue is clarity. When we talk of youth, we are not talking of just biology. We must talk of ideas. Both ideological and also skills. Because if we just talk of youth, youth.. that is just biology. But what skills or ideas do they have? Because you can be young but have old ideas,” the President stated.
He said there are many people who waste time talking without any clarity.
“The sectors are four where you can get jobs. Agriculture — and the challenge here is to modernise agriculture. Africans are in agriculture but in subsistence agriculture — just for feeding themselves not for money,” he said.
President Museveni said of former Ugandan leader Idi Amin: "I think even Amin in some way valued the youth also".
The other sectors he cited are industry, services, ICT and public service, which he said has limited jobs.
Museveni also said the growth of African economies has been miraculous.
“I have been hearing the speech of the president of the bank (Kaberuka) and read some documents. Africa is a place of miracles. This is where you have got growth without infrastructure. They are saying Africa has got higher rates of growth 5.8%, our dear USA 1.9%, average global is 3%, the Euro Zone — 0.4%, Africa 5.8% rate in spite of having no infrastructure, no electricity, no roads, but somehow you get this rate of growth. That shows you the potential of this great land of yours.”
However, he noted that the problem with that type of growth is that it grows in sectors which do not need electricity.
“That is restaurants where they can use candles, hair salons where they change the style of women’s hair, petrol stations and so on.”
He said when the sectors that need electricity, especially manufacturing, do not grow, there cannot be jobs.
President Museveni said Africans are in subsistence farming just for feeding themselves, and not for money
Sorghum growing in Moroto district
Ugandan businessman Ashish Thakkar, who described himself as a former refugee, a school drop-out, an astronaut and entrepreneur, appealed to the African Union to dismantle barriers to free movement and trade in Africa.
Host president Paul Kagame, while opening the meeting, said Africa has made progress over the last half a century.
“For most of our countries the road has been uneven and we have sometimes stumbled or stalled. But we have forged a way ahead.
He noted that across the continent, there is a renewed sense of optimism that gives meaning to the now familiar phrase of “Africa Rising”.
Other leaders also spoke about Africa’s growth prospects, empowering young people and facilitating trade on the continent.
Talks with other leaders
Meanwhile, Museveni held bilateral discussions with his host President Paul Kagame at Serena Hotel in Kigali at the sidelines of the ADB annual meeting. The two leaders discussed bilateral issues affecting their countries.
The president of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka. PHOTO/AFP
Museveni also held a discussion with Admassu Tadesse, the president and chief executive officer of the Preferential Trade Area Bank, commonly known as the PTA Bank, a trade and development financial institution in Africa to which Uganda is a member.
China gives $2b
In a related development, the African Development Bank and the People’s Bank of China on Thursday entered into a $2b (about sh5 trillion) co-financing fund to be known as the Africa Growing Together Fund.
The headquarters of the People's Bank of China. PHOTO/AFP
The resources from the fund are expected to be provided over a 10-year period and will be used alongside the ADB’s own resources to finance eligible sovereign and non-sovereign guaranteed development projects in Africa.
Donald Kaberuka, the president of the African Development Bank Group, said the fund will operate within the strategic framework, policies and procedures of the ADB, including its integrated safeguards, thereby leveraging its strengths.
Commenting on the agreement, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, acknowledged ADB’s work over the last 50 years and the strides it has made in promoting growth and alleviating poverty.
Following the signing, the Africa Growing Together Fund will be immediately established, and is expected to be used to co-finance other projects.
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