US President George W. Bush has described President Yoweri Museveni as a strong leader who has helped solve conflicts in Africa. The two leaders met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
US President George W. Bush has described President Yoweri Museveni as a strong leader who has helped solve conflicts in Africa.
Meeting the President at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Monday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Bush also praised Museveniâ€™s efforts in combating AIDS.
â€œI just had a very productive meeting with President Museveni. Heâ€™s been a very strong leader on a number of fronts. First, heâ€™s been very helpful in solving regional conflicts on the continent of Africa, and I want to thank you for your leadership,â€ Bush said in joint press conference after the meeting.
â€œSecondly, you gave me great confidence when it came to realising the proper strategy in dealing with HIV/AIDS. The success in Uganda showed the rest of the continent and the world how strong leadership and a good strategy can save lives. The ABC programme was implemented in your country. Infection rates went from a lot to a much smaller number,â€ he said.
Bush also lauded Museveni for implementing the Malaria Initiative the US president launched in June 2005 to help control malaria by preventing 50% deaths in 15 of the worst-hit countries. Over 200,000 mosquito nets have been distributed in Uganda under the initiative. â€œThat (success) is because of the leadership of you and the organisation of your government,â€ he stated.
Museveni thanked Bush for the support he has given Uganda through the AIDS fund. He said because of this, Ugandans get free anti-retroviral drugs.
He hailed the US for the Millennium Challenge Account and other support through the World Bank and USAID. â€œWhat we need is to lower the cost of doing business in Africa through investing in infrastructure and energy, so that we can attract foreign direct investment,â€ Museveni said.
â€œThis is the way forward. And President Bush has been tremendous on that. He has actually been a very good friend of Africa and we salute you.â€
Later, while addressing the UN General Assembly, Museveni said the global crisis sparked by soaring food prices can be an economic boom for countries like Uganda if they boost agricultural production.
â€œUganda welcomes this,â€ Museveni said. â€œIt is an opportunity, not a bottleneck. In fact, farmers in Uganda are reaping high. That is why our economy last year grew by 9% per annum.â€
Museveni said Uganda had been producing plenty of maize, bananas, Irish and sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, wheat, animal products like milk and beef but without access on global markets.
He blamed protectionism in the US, the EU, Japan and China, agricultural subsidies in rich countries and lack of factories for value-addition. â€œIt is good that the USA, EU, India, Japan and China have opened their markets to African products â€“ tariff-free, quota-free. However, there is still the issue of subsidies. These should be removed.
We farm in Uganda without subsidies,â€ Museveni implored. â€œWhy shouldnâ€™t the farmers in these countries with better infrastructure, lower interest rates and abundant electricity do the same? Why do they need protection?â€
Museveni a strong leader, says Bush