President Yoweri Museveni has said socio-economic transformation can be achieved by encouraging the population to join the money economy through modern commercial agriculture.
“In 1969, only 4% of the population in Uganda was in the money economy until 2013, when the number increased to 32%. Today, 61% of the people in Uganda have joined the money economy. So, commercial agriculture, with calculation, is the solution,” he said.
President Museveni was delivering a lecture on opportunities to a visiting delegation of senior military officers from the National Defence College of Kenya led by the deputy commandant, Maj. Gen. Charles Kahariri, on Friday.
The delegation, which arrived in Uganda on December 2, comprised officers from Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya. They were on a study tour in the country.
The President told the delegation that another channel of transforming society is through education, adding that in Uganda, the Government adopted the universal primary and secondary education programme to enable all school-going children attain knowledge.
He said once the population increases production, there will be a need for markets.
The President emphasised the need for the promotion of the principles of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) that include patriotism and pan-Africanism for the expansion of the national, regional and international markets for increased farm production.
The President, who took his guests through the European history that saw the society transform from peasantry to middle and skilled classes, added that in Uganda, the Government worked on the recovery programme and is now in the process of diversifying and expanding the economy.
Museveni told his guests that products that were initially considered for consumption only such as maize, cassava milk and beef have now been diversified for commercial purposes.
He added that Uganda is active in the sector of the pathogenic economy involving pharmaceuticals, making of vaccines and sanitisers.
“When the coronavirus broke out, Uganda was the first country in East Africa to start making sanitisers, this is another category of industries. This is the economy we are using to transform society,” he said, according to a release from State House.
President Museveni said the Government is also bringing on board new industries such as the designing and manufacture of electric vehicles like the Kiira vehicles named after the River Nile.
“We are now moving towards the knowledge and skills industry,” he said.
Commenting on some of the concerns raised by the military officers such as value addition, Museveni cited coffee, whose process has been a huge struggle.
He noted that the annual value of coffee in the world is $460b and coffee producers in the world share $25b but Africa earns only $2.5b, while Uganda gets only $800m.
On the media to promote African interests, Museveni proposed that a channel similar to Al Jazeera be developed to get our message to the world.
The delegation, which was accompanied by the Ambassador of Kenya to Uganda, Maj. Gen. (rtd) George Owino, commended Museveni for inviting the group to Uganda and for a fruitful lecture that enlightened them on several issues.
Others on the team included the director of protocol Uganda People’s Defence Forces, Col Naboth Mwesigwa, and the protocol officer in charge of the delegation, M. Ben Kibikka.