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Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

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A quote by Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, “Africa is a place of miracles where  there is growth without infrastructure.” 

He was referring to the impressive growth figures for Africa presented by the Africa Development Bank.

He continued on to say “the problem however is that the growth in sectors that don’t need electricity like salons and restaurants etc. the sectors that need electricity like manufacturing will not grow yet they are the ones that create jobs.”

President Museveni explained the two most important factors in Africa’s growth is the consumers who buy what is produced and therefor marketable to push for market integration and the entrepreneurs with the knowledge, insight and ability to take an opportunity to manufacture.

While he values the youth especially those of Uganda, and he also thinks that former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada to some extent also valued youth, the term should not be used only biologically but must also mean ideology and skills.

“It is obvious that I value the youth and I think Amin to some extent also valued them. However Youth is not just biological, it should also mean ideology and skills. You can be young but have old ideas,” Museveni said.

Museveni was responding to a question by the moderator of the brain-storming session in the Mount Karisimbi Tent in Rwanda. The session “Have your Say! Dialogue with Leaders” was attended by several African leaders.

The question posed to Museveni was on how much he values youth and how much he has involved them in social development.

He pointed out that a lot of people waste time without clarity and emphasized that there are only four crucial sectors for job creation for the youth including in modern agriculture production, industrialization including in small and medium enterprises, services and ICT. He also mentioned that while government also offers jobs, these are quite limited.

“If there is a sixth sector outside these five I need to know. What is important is for the youth, parents and teachers to prepare themselves on how to fit in these sectors. There is also of opportunity in the first four,” he said.

The lively interactive session that focused mainly on the youth also had President Paul Kagame, the host pointed out that how children turn out to be depends on upbringing.

“It is the same way with our continent, look at the different aspects: youth, women, etc. Imagine the environment they were brought up and how this has affected us and how to change or harness them. Leadership is not only presidential, it is all different levels. If they don’t play their part, something goes amiss,” said Kagame.

He continued to talk about how Africa is a poor continent and yet there is a lot that we have but are not doing enough to exploit it. He warned against colonialism and warned Africa to stand firm and fight colonial dictatorship.

“Don’t get worried about the new neo-colonial efforts, the old ones haven’t left us. Our weaknesses have become a source of temptation. We tempt people to abuse us. We really need to stand firm,” he said and wondered why we can’t have the Africa we want with all the great resources that the continent has that can make it possible to have the Africa we deserve. He urged the youth to avoid being influenced by external forces.

President Ali Bongo of Gabon urged Africans to be practical and warned that there can be no integration without peace and security on the Continent. He called on African governments to start funding their own projects and that the continent needs more ambition and political will to push through.

 

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