Elly Karuhanga, the chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, has aised all the 11 countries in the Nile basin to unite and invest in the mining industries if Africa is to generate the kind of revenues to sustain its economies.
“All the 31 minerals that God mentioned in the Qur’an and Bible are within the Nile basin region. So, we should take aantage of them to develop Africa. All minerals in the world are here in Uganda and Congo,” he said.
The 11 countries in the Nile basin are Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Eritrea and Kenya. Karuhanga was speaking at the recent opening of the third International Conference for Economic Integration among Nile basin Countries at Sheraton hotel Kampala.
It discussed impediments affecting regional integration and called on member countries to strengthen economic ties for the development of the region. More than 80 companies from Egypt also exhibited different products in health, food processing, furniture, construction materials, education products, energy and mineral development at the Lugogo show ground.
Karuhanga aised Ugandans to benefit from River Nile like Egypt.
“Egypt couldn’t be g without using River Nile, which has benefited their people economically and socially,” he said.
Dr Sherif El Khoraiby, the chairman for Comesa trade and marketing company, who also led the Egyptian delegation, said although the Nile basin was the richest region in the world, it could not benefit the countries who shared it if those countries worked separately.
“It is estimated that the world will face food shortage in the next three years, but if we use the Nile basin and benefit from it, we shall not suffer in Africa,” he said.
Ahmed Abdel Aziz Mostafa, the Egyptian ambassador to Uganda, said they agreed to give priority to Nile basin countries in Africa to boost trade in the region. Moses Ali, the second deputy prime minister, who officially opened the conference, requested Nile basin countries to avoid conflicts if they wanted development.
Henry Banyenzaki, the state minister for Economic Monitoring, said Uganda still had a challenge of information and communications technology in government institutions.
“ICT leads to more development in the country but we still have a challenge with government officials who have smart phones but don’t know how to use them,” he said.
Samuel Luate Lominsuk, an ambassador of South Sudan, asked Egyptian investors to consider South Sudan for investment in education and energy since about 90 per cent of South Sudanese are illiterate.
“We have a challenge of environmental degradation in South Sudan, where people are still using bushes to defecate. And when it rains, the waste pollutes the water bodies, which people drink and end up getting diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery due to lack of hygiene,” he said.
Lominsuk said they needed investment in education, energy, information technology and agriculture to improve on sanitation.
Source : The Observer