President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated the need for Africa to integrate and leverage on its growing population in order to facilitate trade and security. Museveni who is on a state visit to Nigeria said that for a long time, fragmentation has dragged the continent’s economic progress and it’s time to catch up.
On Friday, President Museveni was welcomed by his Nigerian counterpart President Muhammad Buhari before delivering a lecture at the National Defence College of Nigeria in Abuja. The lecture which focused on integration, prosperity and African strategic security marked the inauguration of the college’s 26th class.
“Africa’s biggest original sin was poor political organization. This is what enabled colonialists to conquer Africa. We were fragmented into clans and tribes and it was easy to attack us one by one,” President Museveni said.
Referring to Africa as “a continent which was the cradle of man, origin of civilization and saviour of modern religions”, he said the continent has continued to trail while the rest of the globe develops.
“The cure for this malaise lies is integration for markets. We must expand our markets,” he stressed.
He cited the case of Uganda’s production of 1.2 billion litres of milk and three million tonnes of maize in excess annually which is consumed by neighbouring countries.
“China’s GDP in 1978 before it opened up was only $218 billion. Today, it is $11,202 billion, largely driven by trade with external markets,” Museveni stated.
In addition to economic integration, Africa must work together for strategic security, he added, alluding to the prosperous but “weak” countries; Holland, Belgium and France which suffered defeat during World War Two.
“We must find a strategic security anchor and that only lies in both out political and economic integration.”
Museveni also hinted on Africa’s human resource which he said is an asset that must be invested in.
The President’s first day in Nigeria coincided with his birthday, marking 73 years. The National Defence College military officers sang to him before gifting him.