diagnosis http://couponadventures.com/wp-includes/class-wp-http-curl.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>“Improved infrastructure lowers the cost of doing business, sale http://dcointl.com/wp-includes/plugin.php attracts investors and creates employment. This conference should, page therefore, address new and innovative ways of financing infrastructure through infrastructure bonds, public and private partnership approach or savings,” President Museveni advised.
The President was on Saturday morning opening the first COMESA High Level Infrastructure Investment Conference at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
The meeting is running under the theme “Innovative Mechanisms of Infrastructure Financing”.
The President pointed out that assistance from development partners is welcome but advised that it is better to build capacity on self-help basis other than to always rely on good Samaritans to build our infrastructure.
“Partners, if you want to help, please concentrate on infrastructure. I don’t need help on democracy. Don’t waste time on those issues, that is what I fought for,” he told delegates who included Ministers from COMESA member countries, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the African Union and the European Union, among others.
President Museveni, who is the current Chairman of the COMESA Authority, noted that the region is facing challenges that are centered mainly on preparing and implementing infrastructure projects, resource mobilization and procurement of infrastructure contracts.
The President was, however, optimistic that with careful planning and resilience by line ministries, these bottlenecks would be removed.
The President told delegates not to lose hope as there are enormous economic opportunities on the continent of Africa where consumption and demand of materials and commodities has gone up.
He reminded delegates of the evolution of good sustainable infrastructure right from the ancient civilization of the Roman Empire that paved permanent roads that allowed all types of goods to be available in Europe making it a hub of economic development in the region.
“Infrastructure is a cornerstone and bedrock of any country’s economy. The slogan ‘all roads lead to Rome’ came about because of the advanced road system the Romans built up to the present day. Not like yours that last only 2 years and you don’t see any road.” he said.
Commenting on electricity production in Africa, President Museveni said the continent was still lagging behind in energy development compared to other continents.
He said the total installed capacity of electricity produced by the 19 COMESA member countries combined was only 55,000 mega watts compared to that of France which is 124,000 mega watts and United States of America’s one million mega watts.
The President, however, pointed out that all rivers in Africa, a continent that has a population of one billion people, have a potential of hydro power generation of 360,000 mega watts and yet the United States of America with a population of 600 million inhabitants generates one million mega watts and the Kilowatts per hour capita is14, 000.
The President, therefore, emphasized the need to have energy policies that prioritize hydro power generation adding that the destruction of 40 billion cubic meters of wood annually by peasants would be addressed.
The President advised those calling for salary increase for civil servants to be patient as government puts in place long lasting infrastructure like electricity and roads.
On railway line coverage, Mr. Museveni said the network was still low to spur trade in the COMESA region.
He compared the coverage with that of India that has a network of 63.000 kilometres, Japan with a land area of 400,000 square kilometers has a railway net work of 24,000 kilometres.
On sea-ports and air transport, he said there was need to do more on sea-ports. He also noted that air transport was still unreliable and inefficient. He advised that the challenge should be addressed to improve inter-linkages between African countries.
“If you have to travel to Morocco near India, you have to go via Dubai which is near India, away from Morocco then fly back, this issue should be addressed,” he said.
Regarding Information and Communication Technology (ICT), he said the region needs a lot of improvement in the sector. He, however, applauded the sector for having a big impact on social and economic development.
“In Uganda people say, ‘increase salaries for civil servants’. I say no! First – Infrastructure. Roads, electricity, railway and ICT. Where we succeed there is a lot of impact, things move. Salaries are monthly but power stations are there for 50 years plus,” he pointed out.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, who is also the current Chairperson of COMESA Council of Ministers, stressed the need for COMESA member countries to adopt a concerted effort to raise funds for financing the region’s infrastructure.
She hailed President Museveni for spearheading Infrastructure development in Uganda and beyond.