TORONTO (CANADA): H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Sunday evening officially closed the two-day Canada NRM Chapter Symposium 2023, where he called on Canadian investors to invest in Uganda.
Speaking to over 350 Ugandans living in Canada at Woodbine Hotel in Toronto via Zoom, the President said his government was ready to receive interested Canadians for viable investments in Uganda, and that “the Canadian investors who are willing to add value to our products are welcome.”
President Museveni, who is also the NRM National Chairman, took his audience through a process that has seen the government transiting from a small economy to a more progressive status, with reasonable exports that earn the country huge foreign exchanges.
He said by 1962, Uganda was basically surviving on cotton, coffee, copper (3Cs) tobacco, tea and tourism (3Ts) but by the time NRM took power in 1986, the past regimes had failed to sustain the trend.
Museveni added that NRM has since prioritized the recovery and expansion process of the economy, with even new products that were not formerly considered to be of any economic value, now, largely contributing to the country’s economy.
He gave an example of Maize which was formerly grown as a food crop with about 500,000 kgs produced annually, and importing maize floor from neighbouring Kenya, adding that we now have 5bn Kilograms exported annually, and maize has since turned into both a food and cash crop.
Museveni also noted that Uganda was now the leading producer of milk on the African continent among many others.
Speaking to a visibly excited audience that also had some ‘Bazzukkulu’ working and studying in Canada, the President reiterated the need by the NRM government to prioritise value addition, to the whole spectrum of the existing raw materials in Uganda. He said interested Canadian investors can also invest in other service sectors like tourism, hotels and ICT, among others.
In addition, the President emphasized that NRM government efforts had yielded results, with now, 61% of the population living under the money economy and only 39% still working for only their stomachs (Ekida kyonka).
Hon Nakadama assures Ugandans in Diaspora.
At the same event, the leader of Uganda’s delegation, 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio, Rt. Hon. Rukia Isanga Nakadama said the Ugandan emigrants were formerly looked down upon, as desperate casual workers (nkuba-kyeyo), but the NRM government holds them in high regard, due to their contributions to poverty eradication in Uganda.
She commended them for contributing to the national development through Foreign Direct Investments, remittances, promotion of trade, public diplomacy and skills transfer, among others.
Nakadama added that she will continue encouraging Ugandans abroad to embrace dialogue and unity, in order to build a robust diaspora community that can continuously contribute toward Uganda’s economy.
She reminded her audience that NRM was the only political organisation, that can be trusted with the sacred responsibility of securing Uganda’s future.
Diaspora community appreciates Museveni.
In his remarks to the media, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, said his office would continue coordinating Ugandans outside their country to invest back home.
Walusimbi revealed that similar meetings were held in South Africa before, and would spread to other countries as well, before commending the President for offering land for a diaspora Industrial park in Uganda.
On behalf of the Diaspora community, the chairperson of the Canada NRM Chapter, Mr Fred Kinene, commended the President for his support towards the symposium which made it a success.
Mr Kinene said this, was the second annual event and requested the Head of State to consider visiting them in Canada.
The closing ceremony was also addressed by the High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador Joy Ruth Acheng, Presidency Minister, Milly Babalanda, NRM Deputy National Treasurer, Jacqueline Kyatuhairwe, Senior Presidential Advisor Florence Mutyabule, among others.
The two-day symposium was capped with entertainment and a gala dinner.