Western Countries Can Fund Seminars But Won’t Aid Manufacturing In Africa- Museveni

He argued that a core issue facing Africa is that aid from institutions like the World Bank.

By Johnson Atoukudu

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda made a strong critique of global leaders during his address at the World Bank’s International Development Association summit for African Heads of State, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday.

Museveni suggested that many of Africa’s longstanding issues, anticipated over six decades ago, stemmed from philosophical, ideological, and strategic economic errors.

He argued that a core issue facing Africa is that aid from institutions like the World Bank and other Western organizations primarily served profit-driven agendas.

“The crisis which is in Africa today is because of philosophical, ideological, and strategic economic mistakes which we have been talking about since the 1960s. It is not an accident when you see the crisis in many African countries, the collapse of States. We predicted this in the 1960s – philosophical, ideological, and strategic mistakes. I don’t have time to amplify each one but I was very happy to hear the president of the World Bank talking about prosperity instead of profiteering.

“Aid has been for profiteering, this has been the problem. Now, the World Bank people and other groups have been talking about sustainable development. Even in your documents, I have seen those words there, sustainable development”, Museveni stated.

He contended that Africa’s path to prosperity as a continent did not lie in the perpetual pursuit of sustainable development, as commonly advocated by the World Bank and other prominent figures in economic advancement, but rather in comprehensive social and economic transformation.

He urged the World Bank and global leaders to refrain from emphasizing sustainable development as a primary driver for achieving a more developed Africa.

“I would ask you to change those words in your documents. Africa does not need what you could call sustainable development. Africa needs social and economic transformation. The main reason why there’s no growth is because the growth factors are not funded, they are not even understood. What are the growth factors, we now talk of private sector growth. Yes, but for the private sector to grow what does it need? It needs a low cost of production”, he said.

In his opinion, the main reason Africa remains underdeveloped is because the growth factors are not funded and they are not understood by the Western world.

He added that for Africa to be more developed and independent, the private sector needs funding. According to him, adequate funding for the transportation, power and agricultural sectors will boost low production costs.

“Ministers of finance, what are the low costs of production? Number one is transport. You must have low transport costs. Where do low transport costs come from? The railway? If you don’t fund the railway how will you get low transport costs?

“Wonderful people, IMF, where will low-cost operations come from if you don’t have a railway? If you don’t fund the railway, how would you get low transport costs? I have been here for the last 64 years, I have been watching as a student leader, as a freedom fighter and now as the leader of a country. How many railways have been constructed or funded in Africa? The few that have been was by China, the Tanzanian railway to Zambia, and recently, another one here in Kenya. Tanzania on their own is building a railway line. So if you’re talking of developing Africa, fund the railway. If you fund the railway, you will have a low cost of transport and you can produce cheap products which can be bought all over the world.

“The second cost pusher is electricity. If you don’t fund electricity and you talk about sustainable development, what are you then talking about? We must have low-cost electricity not exceeding 5 cents per kilowatts, per hour. That is what I insist on in Uganda. I am tired of all these stories, I have put my foot down saying I don’t want to hear those stories. Uganda is a developing country and it will continue to develop because I don’t entertain nonsense anymore.”


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