President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterated the need for the East African Community (EAC) integration.
According to the President, East Africans, especially young people need to know why integration is very critical for the region.
“There are three reasons; number one is do you want prosperity or not? If you say you don’t want prosperity, then there’s no problem, but if you say you want it, the question is where will the prosperity come from?” he inquired.
President Museveni made the remarks during the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State that took place in Arusha, Tanzania.
The summit ran under the theme: “Accelerating Economic Recovery through Climate Action and Enhancing Food Security for Improved Livelihoods”.
The President explained that prosperity cannot come from aid from foreigners or government handouts, but it comes from a family, company or an individual who produces a good or a service and sells it.
“You produce a good or a service and somebody buys it. If more people buy from you, then you become prosperous. Therefore, you cannot talk of prosperity in Africa without talking about market integration,” he said.
“If you want to experiment with that, you should go to Latin America. Latin America is richer than the United States in terms of natural resources; if you look at the rivers, the biggest river in the world, the Amazon is located in South America, and the forests, agricultural land, and minerals are all there in South America, but you see the misery there. So, what is the problem? Part of the problem is organisation. In the US if you are in New York, you produce a product, it can be sold to California. They have got a market of more than 300 million people,” he noted.
President Museveni further expounded that the market is a stimulus for wealth creation and prosperity and that is why as leaders, they advocate for the integration of the East African market.
“A country like Uganda wasted a lot of time-fighting and so on, when we settled down, we started producing and very soon we realised that the internal market was not enough for milk, maize, sugar, among other products.”
President Museveni also outlined Strategic security and undugu (brotherhood) as the other reasons why East Africa needs integration.
“The second reason is strategic security. How can you be secure in the world? The third reason is undugu, we are even lucky that we have Swahili as the East African language, we can all speak Swahili. Therefore, it is easy for us to unite. This is why some of us under the leadership of Mwalimu Nyerere, for the last more than 60 years have been struggling for East African integration.”
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