During the ninth Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said fair global trade is crucial for global development.
A statement by Uganda’s presidential Press Secretary quoted Museveni as saying, “The challenge in the globe in the last 300 years has been unbalanced development. Since the industrial revolution in Europe, we have had development in some corners of the globe and underdevelopment in others.”
Museveni noted that whereas the discrepancy was being sorted, with some third world countries like India getting out of poverty, it was important that the push encompassed all countries.
“The expectation is that the whole world should get out of under-development and we work for global prosperity. It should be prosperity for all of us instead of having a small number of people who are prosperous and the majority who are in underdevelopment,” said Museveni.
He said one of the tools to ensure this prosperity happens is to enforce fair trade.
“When we trade together, we stimulate growth in our respective countries. However, in order to trade, we must have the basics. We must resolve the issues of infrastructure, cost of production, cost of money and the human resource,” he added.
Museveni observed that the challenge for organisations like the ACP was to create enablers of trade.
Citing Uganda’s case, Museveni said the country has a lot of potential, given that just 32 percent of its population was in the money economy.
“They have not maximised their potential and I know this is the case with most African countries. We are, therefore, working to better this through commercial agriculture, building industries, supporting the services sector and tapping into ICT opportunities,” Museveni said.
“The internal market is not enough, even the East African Market is not enough. Therefore, it is imperative that we about talk global trade. The ACP is right by emphasising multilateralism. It will cause prosperity in whole world,” he said.
Commenting on the subjects of the summit’s discussion; governance, social-economic transformation and climate change; the president said they should be discussed as a whole.
“These topics are linked because if you don’t encourage social-economic transformation of society, you cannot sustainably deal with issues of governance,” Museveni posited.
On climate change, he observed that Uganda had recently suffered the wrath of the weather, with landslides and floods killing several people.
“This is partly because people go to wetlands for land for agriculture. Why don’t they go to industries? It is because they are not enough industries for them. That’s the linkage,” he said.
Some aspects of climate change, he said, are due to greed, especially in the North, where people are using bad methods of production and producing a lot of carbon dioxide but some of the problems are due to acute need for land for agriculture.
Museveni also discouraged the idea that Africa should be separated from the Caribbean.
“I don’t know where that idea came from. I don’t think it’s a good one. Why do we separate ourselves from the African diaspora? The Caribbean, the US, Brazil these are part of the African Diaspora,” he said.
Earlier in the day, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya was appointed chair of the ACP Group for a three-year tenure while Ambassador Georges Chikoti of Angola becomes the new secretary general.
The two-day Conference Centre, attended by several heads of state from the 79-member state group, is running under the theme, “A Transformed ACP: Committed to Multilateralism.”