President promotes regional tourism as he holds talks with Ethiopian Premier in Addis Abbaba

Saturday 27th December 2014
State House PPU

President Yoweri Museveni has said that tourism should be promoted in the region. Speaking during bilateral talks with his host, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn yesterday at the start of a 3-day state visit to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia the at the national Palace in Addis Ababa, the Ugandan leader noted that both Uganda and Ethiopia offer immense tourism opportunities.

“The tourism sector needs to be strengthened in the region. This would lead to a lot of progress among all the countries in the region. Uganda and Ethiopia are gold mines for tourism. The Eastern African Region is endowed with snow-capped mountains and other historical sites that have the potential to attract tourists,’ he said.

President Museveni, who is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Janet Museveni, said that the relationship between Uganda and Ethiopia was both historical and geographical adding that there are ancient linkages between the people of the two countries. He revealed that Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Kenya were the bases where the ancient groups link. He also noted that from the geographical point of view the River Nile links the region. He further observed that Ethiopia is the mother of one branches of the River Nile and Uganda also the mother of the other branch.

Mr. Museveni was pleased to note that Uganda has had ideological fraternity and good diplomatic ties with Ethiopia adding that Uganda has achieved a lot in her long-running cooperating with Ethiopia. He, therefore, called for the deepening of defence and security co-operation between the regional countries. The President emphasized the necessity for further cooperation by the 2 countries in infrastructure development saying that the prevailing link today was Ethiopian Airlines which should be used to boost trade. He observed that in the short run, Ethiopia and Uganda should identify items that can be traded and ferried by air. He suggested that the other items could be ferried by sea through Djibouti on to Kenyan Port of Mombasa. He noted that the combined population of the 5 East African Community member countries – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania – plus South Sudan and Ethiopia, is about 200 million which is indeed a big market for the various products.

President Museveni noted that once the issue of the railway link is solved, there will be a lot of progress in the region. He again stressed the need to have railway linkages from Uganda to Ethiopia through South Sudan. He also said that the African Continent has a potential to generate 360,000 megawatts of electricity and that Ethiopia alone has the largest predicted capacity in electricity generation. He extended an invitation to Ethiopian enterprises to come and invest in the leather sector in Uganda.

On his part, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn warmely welcomed President Museveni to Ethiopia and noted that Mr. Museveni’s visit further strengthens the relationship between the two countries. He observed that “Our 2 countries have had brotherly relations and we belong to the Nile Basin and Great Rift Valley,” he observed.

He revealed that Ethiopia appreciates Uganda’s role in the sharing of the River Nile water resources. Mr. Desalegn noted that infrastructure has hampered development strategies in the region but expressed strong optimism that the completion of the hydro power station construction in Ethiopia would go a long way in serving the region adding that Uganda would be among the beneficiaries.

Prime Minister Desalegn further said that most of the countries in the region have suffered from instability.  He noted that this challenge can only be solved if the region continues cooperating. He said that Ethiopia has been equally been affected by terrorism. He strongly condemned the latest attack on the Hahale AMISOM Force Base in Mogadishu by the terrorist Al Shabaab group.  

He saluted President Museveni for his role towards bringing peace in South Sudan. He stressed the need to cooperate by all particularly through the regional body the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD) to ensure sustainable peace in South Sudan.

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