KAMPALA, Uganda–President Yoweri Museveni has stressed that the African Continent that lacked unity in the past, has now woken up and will never miss out again on industrial and digital revolution and will be part of the global trade on equal terms.
“One of the weaknesses was lack of unity among Africans and as a result, Africa missed out on the industrial revolution except the Iron Age. Now Africa has woken up; we are going to the industrial and digital revolution. I want to assure you that Africa will not miss out again. It is going to be part of the global trade on equal terms,” he stressed.
President Museveni made the remarks while opening the 4th World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Conference at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The 3-day conference is being attended by over 1,000 delegates from several countries worldwide and is organised by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
The conference is running under the theme ‘Promoting Mutual Recognition of AEO to Strengthen and Secure Global Trade’ and is slated to discuss customs and trade facilitation.
Uganda was chosen to host the first ever conference in Africa because of the country’s mature and successful Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programme on the whole continent.
President Museveni observed that Africa had for the past 500 years never been part of the global trade because of several challenges that included, among others, slave trade that emerged out of internal weaknesses. He added that the situation was exploited by foreigners and aggravated by the era of colonialism and neo-colonialism.
Mr. Museveni further explained that as a result of the challenges that included lack of unity, Africa missed out on industrial revolution except the Iron Age.
“Now, Africa has woken up and we are handling these weaknesses such as disunity. That is why you heard 2 Anthems being played; one of Uganda and that of East Africa. When you come here, you are not only guests of Uganda but also of the East Africa Community,” he said.
The President, at this juncture, introduced members of the East African Legislative Assembly to guests at the conference. He extended an invitation to the delegates to visit other parts of the country and also told them that East Africa, whose population is 180 million and still growing, is a Customs Union that is moving to industrial and digital revolution.
He commended the Uganda Revenue Authority for inviting a powerful group of people to Uganda.
“When you come here and talk about customs and trade, you are in the right place at the right time. Apart from your customs’ conference, don’t miss out on tourism. Uganda has the best climate because it is right on the Equator. I want to thank the Uganda Revenue Authority for inviting such a wonderful group of people from all over the world,” he added.
The 4th World Customs Global AEO Conference, is also attended by State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Hon. Evelyne Anite, the Secretary General of World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Kunio Mikuriya and the Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority, Ms. Doris Akol.