BAHIR DAR, ETHIOPIA, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged African leaders to stop what he described as ideological meandering and to thoroughly discuss and distill positions which can help their people transform and develop using their natural resources.

Speaking at a discussion on Managing Natural Resources In Africa: Challenges and Prospects at the ongoing 6th High Level Forum on Security in Africa in Bahir Dar in Ethiopia over the weekend, he added that while Africa was at a structural disadvantage in that great ideas did not apply to the whole of Africa, the Tana Forum could still help spread the ideas through "osmosis".

Africa has a structural disadvantage. We are not like China. In China, when there is one good thinker the whole of China follows. Here, you may have good ideas in Ethiopia but they are localized and do not apply to the whole of Africa. This forum can help ideas spread by osmosis, he said.

Museveni who disagreed with some of the forum participants who said education was the solution to solving Africa's problems, said policy mistakes by both technocrats and political leaders had led to various problems in Africa.

If you educate your people, will everything be okay? This was part of mistakes in the 1960s. This fragmented thinking, fragmented vision is incorrect. If you educate people but you don't have infrastructure including electricity, where will they work? How will they work? Museveni said.

He used the example of the Philippines, which he said had its citizens working all over the world because they did not have jobs in their own country whereas the Republic of Korea has its citizens working at home.

We in Uganda have identified 10 strategic bottlenecks and our view is that they all must be handled together. These include ideology, state formation, infrastructure development, market integration. If I produce but do not have enough buyers, how will I benefit? he asked, while urging the forum to focus on who owns the natural resources on the continent.

On the issue of mineral resources, my question is who owns the minerals. With petroleum, we have production sharing agreements (PSA) where the company which has exploration licences agrees with government to pay so much to regain what they invested and the rest is for government, he said.

It is not clear what the case is with other minerals, including where companies own minerals but governments have royalties.

In Uganda, we are not bothered with minerals because Uganda has been developing at a good rate depending on agriculture and industry. We discovered petroleum about 12 years ago but up to now we have not exploited it because I could not agree with those companies. They wanted to cheat us. I said no, the petroleum has been in the ground for the last many years it can stay there until we agree. That is because in my view, minerals should belong to the country, he said.

President Museveni spoke passionately about processing Africa's minerals in Africa to create jobs and get more value from their resources. He also urged all Africans in Diaspora to help develop their countries.

I love (United States President Doald) Trump. I love that man Trump because that man has told you that he is not your uncle. And I think it is good. For those Africans who feel orphaned, come back to our continent and mind our own affairs, he said.



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