RUSSIA: President Museveni Calls for African Unity & Value Addition

RUSSIA: In the historic city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on the 28th of July, 2023, African leaders gathered at the 2nd Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Summit to discuss the path of progress, unity, and economic empowerment. Among them was His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, a man with a wealth of experience and wisdom from decades of involvement in freedom movements.

 

President Museveni began his speech by reminiscing about the dark days of Africa’s past – a time when the entire continent, except Ethiopia, was under the oppressive grip of colonization. This period was marked by the horrifying slave trade, which took millions of African lives and caused immense devastation. However, out of this dark era emerged the seeds of resistance and hope.

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The first step towards liberation came with the Pan-African Movement, initiated by African-Americans Du Bois and Padamore. In 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) was formed in South Africa, symbolizing a shift from traditional resistance led by Kings and Chiefs to a more organized and united front.

 

The rise of communism in the Soviet Union, China, and other countries also played a crucial role in weakening the grip of imperialism on the world stage. The inter-imperialist wars of the last century further eroded the strength of imperialist powers, opening doors for anti-colonial movements and independence struggles in various regions like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Africa.

 

President Museveni expressed his gratitude to the Soviet peoples and other socialist countries for their support during those turbulent times. Nevertheless, despite gaining flag independence, many African nations still grappled with the legacy of colonial economic structures, leading to numerous bottlenecks and distortions.

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One of the glaring examples of these challenges was the coffee industry. While the global coffee business was valued at a staggering USD 460 billion, African coffee-producing countries only claimed a mere USD 2.4 billion, with Uganda accounting for USD 800 million. This disparity was due to Africa’s heavy reliance on exporting raw materials without adding value.

 

The President proposed a solution to this problem. He called on allies like Russia, India, and China to support Africa by encouraging policy decisions that prioritize buying value-added products rather than raw materials. By investing in value addition in Africa and creating markets for its products, African countries could unlock their potential for growth and development.

 

He also emphasized the importance of regional unity and collaboration through initiatives like the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). With a market of 1.5 billion people and an anticipated population of 2.5 billion in the next 30 years, Africa was on the brink of reaching its optimal population for the first time in history.

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President Museveni highlighted the futility of wars based on ideological differences, stating that history would inevitably progress with or without such conflicts. Instead, he advocated for dialogue as the correct approach to resolving disputes and achieving lasting peace.

 

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