In order to facilitate trade with their Congolese counterparts, the First Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga, has recommended Ugandans to learn two or more languages, particularly French and Kiswahili.
Kadaga recently led a group from Uganda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a business summit in the cities of Kinshasa and Goma. Kadaga is also the Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs.
Speaking on Thursday at the Serena Hotel in Kampala during the Uganda-DR Congo Business Summit Post Event, Kadaga said there are many prospects for trade, engaging in different enterprises, and investing.
Kadaga stated at a media briefing that “we as a country must position ourselves strategically if we are to gain from these chances.”
Rt Hon Kadaga at the Serena hotel upon arrival
She expressed gratitude to the Presidential Advisor on Special Duties, Odrek Rwabwogo, and the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) for coming up with the idea to organize the “#UGDRCBusinessSummit Post review event.”
We can see that we are heading in the correct way because of this. DR Congo mission accomplished successfully. I had suggested that we conduct quarterly assessments to determine whether our institutions have addressed the problems brought up during the summit, but this review for the media briefing is acceptable, she added.
According to Kadaga, the DR Congo offers numerous chances for Ugandans.
“Even though we are close by, 75% of Kinshasa’s goods are imported from Europe. You can get there by car. She spoke to potential in the banking, insurance, and hotel industries as well as the market for beef, poultry, and other foods.
She claimed that changing one’s mindset is what is required. “We must carefully analyze supply chains and target markets. Let’s look at where our folks are throughout the nation and figure out how to assist them.
Rebecca Kadaga, First Deputy Prime Minister
She went on to mention the potential of the gold and timber resources, stating that they were awaiting the DR Congo’s ratification documents in order to facilitate trade and people moving across borders.
Language question: Kiswahili and French
The language barrier, which presents both an opportunity and a barrier, was another opportunity that Kadaga noted.
The Congolese desire English instruction. There is access for our teachers, she continued.
She urged Ugandans to learn one or two additional languages so they could communicate with the Congolese. “The Congolese are definitely our neighbors.”
Kadaga stated that she was getting ready to give the president a cabinet paper to make Kiswahili the official language of the EAC for improved integration.
In September last year, Dr Caroline Asiimwe, an expert on Swahili at Makerere University, presented a strategic plan for the Kiswahili Commission to Kadaga and briefed her about the sensitization program in Uganda.
“In the East African community, Uganda is the worst performer in Swahili language. Our education system should change so that Swahili is compulsory in Primary schools and examinable at PLE,” Kadaga told NTV last month.
While presenting a Ministerial Statement to Parliament on the admission of DR Congo into the EAC, Kadaga said DR Congo being a dominantly French-speaking Country, the move will open up the use of French in the Community.
She said that the decision resonates with the earlier decision of the 21st Summit of EAC Heads of State held on 27th February 2022 that adopted English, French, and Kiswahili as Official Languages of the Community.
Mrs Mwanje (extreme R), PSFU Board Member Sarah Kagingo (M) look on as Kadaga speaks to journalists
“The non-French speaking EAC Partner States, must now put in place modalities of learning and using French as well as Kiswahili as these are now the centre stage of the official operations of the Community. I will be tabling a Cabinet Memorandum on how Uganda will implement this Summit Directive,” she pointed out.
Last month, Members of East African Legislative Assembly [EALA] and leaders of the East African Community [EAC] member states suggested that Kiswahili be made compulsory among their education syllabuses to ease communication, promote culture, trade and unity.
Speaking during the media briefing yesterday, Mrs Edith Mwanje, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, reiterated the call to train children in Kiswahili and make it examinable.
Mrs Edith Mwanje
She said they are thinking about labs to train mature people in Swahili.
“You must get the basics,” she noted, adding that they intend to build a mechanism and invite trainers from Kenya, Tanzania and DRC “as we also train their people in English”.
“Burundi is partnering with us to teach their people English,” she revealed.