Uganda’s president ,Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has today officially opened the 3rd East African Community Investment Conference at Munyonyo Resort hotel in the outskirts of Kampala.
The conference is being attended by over 500 investors from east Africa and about 50 from the rest of the world.
During his opening remarks, president Museveni pointed out three problems that are hindering economic development in the region.
Museveni said, “East African region is faced with numerous challenges, including poor infrastructure, inadequate energy, unemployment among others. If the region is to develop those challenges must be worked upon.”
He attacked all those who campaign against construction of electricity dams on rivers in Africa. He said electricity is key to economic development.
Museveni expressed concern over east African community member states who compare themselves with fellow underdeveloped African countries instead of comparing their region with other developed countries saying this is the only way the region will develop.
He said, “We should start thinking big. We should not always compare ourselves with underdeveloped countries. As a region, we should start aspiring to become like developed countries.”
At the same opening ceremony, East African Community secretary general, Juma Mwapachu commended the efforts injected by respective investment promotion agencies in attracting investors to the region noting that this has realized economic development among respective member states.
Uganda’s East African Community affairs minister, acknowledged the tremendous increase in cross border trade among member states which has been brought about the integration.
Kategaya said, “There has been tremendous increase in the cross border trade among the East African members states in the last few years. That is good for our people.”
The east African community investment conference is geared at promoting investment in the region and provides a platform for dialogue for potential business players among other factors.
The East African Community, initially with 3 member countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania collapsed in 1974 when the then dictator president of Uganda, Idi Amin Dada disagreed with the presidents of the other two countries.
In early 2000 the East African community was reinstated with the 3 original member countries. Later on in 2007 two other countries, Rwanda and Burundi joined the community.