President Museveni with the Irish Prime Minister at the State Lodge in Masaka President Yoweri Museveni has called for a Euro-Africa summit to develop common ideas of cooperation, adding that there are a lot of unexploited complimentary between Europe and Africa that can mutual reinforce the relationship between the two continents.
The President was today meeting THE TÁNAISTE and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore at the State Lodge in Masaka where the President witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Hon Gilmore and Uganda’s Minister of Finance Maria Kiwanuka in which the Irish government has committed over 10 million Euro to the rehabilitation and development efforts in Northern Uganda.
“It is important to develop some common ideas. In Europe, there are three advantages; savings both private and public, technology and entrepreneurship, while Africa has a market, natural resources and a growing demand. If we can import the three things from Europe, it would be mutual reinforcement. The summit would point out areas were cooperation should be directed,” he said.
He hailed the Irish government for its development support to Uganda especially in Health, Education and especially value addition; an area which he said was crucial as it would help multiply ten times the GDP of Uganda.
The President assured the Irish delegation that Uganda is committed to fighting corruption, adding that he would appoint an investment officer in the President’s office to monitor projects and ensure that there are no delays in implementation.
“There are a lot of thieves who delay projects because they seek bribes from investors. It is crucial that we get feedback on the corrupt from the investors because they are the ones who are targeted,” he said reacting to reports that there were challenges in the administrative system that made it difficult to implement projects.
THE TÁNAISTE Eamon Gilmore said there is potential for the transfer of technology and skills and that his country was keen to train Ugandans in skills that can be used in emerging industries. He said his country had developed an African strategy and were committed to working in partnership with Africa. “There is enormous potential between Europe and Africa especially in the areas of agro production and economic development,” he said.
The two leaders also addressed various issues including good governance, homosexuality, trade and investments.
Uganda is the largest programme country for Irish Development Co-operation and the biggest recipient of Irish Aid in the whole of Africa. Irish Aid has been working in Uganda since 1994 with support increasing from an initial program budget of less than €1million to over €33million in 2010. Ireland’s current country strategy for Uganda commits over 166 million Euro in official development assistance in various critical sectors such as education, health governance, HIV and AIDS, the Justice Law and Order Sector and rehabilitation of Northern Uganda among others.
THE TÁNAISTE, Eamon Gilmore, who was accompanied to the meeting by the Irish Ambassador to Uganda Anne Webster is in Uganda as part of his six-day visit to East Africa to see the impact of Irish aid and highlight trade opportunities.
Uganda’s Minister of Finance Maria Kiwanuka, That of Trade Amelia Kyambadde and Uganda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland Joan Rwabyomere attended the meeting.
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