Addressed students from the UK Defence Academy--Joint Services Command and Staff College, who are undertaking the Advanced Command and Staff Course.
I welcome these students, led by Colonel Martin Mackey, to Uganda. Our discussion centred on why Africa has lagged behind in development despite having a huge deposit of natural resources.
From my understanding and having been involved in issues concerning Africa, I have identified 10 strategic bottlenecks that have caused this lag. For our engagement, I focused on two main ones.
First is the issue of emphasising identity at the expense of interests. Europe at some stage had this problem, for instance the conflicts between catholics and protestants. But they were overcome.
Africa has had a number of bankrupt leaders who promote this kind of ideology and thus sustain this conflict. Identity is good, we should know who we are. But we must ask what our interests are.
Our interest should be prosperity through production of goods and services, which is more important and should override identity. To counter sectarianism, the NRM government promotes patriotism and Pan-Africanism.
The other bottleneck is the small fragmented markets which cannot sustain and stimulate mass production, creating a problem for the producers and service providers. Africa cannot, therefore, favourably compete with other continents.
However, we are gradually addressing these bottlenecks and in Uganda's case, we shall in the next couple of years move into the middle income bracket.