President Yoweri Museveni has partly attributed Africa’s slow pace of development to the continent’s small and low productive population. Despite Africa’s endowment with natural resources and immense potential to feed the entire globe, this Museveni says majority of the people are held back by the perception of entitlement.
The President was speaking during the opening the 4th Africa Congress of Accountants at Speke Resort Munyonyo, this which has brought together about 1,200 delegates from across Africa and world over.
“Africa is 12 million square miles of land area. You can fit America, China, Western Europe, Brazil into Africa and still remain with space. And that’s part of the problem. We are underpopulated,” President Museveni told participants.
“Until recently, many of the Africans didn’t think it was important to work. This was because even a fool would survive here. In other parts of the world, fools don’t normally survive. Somebody can stay in the forest not doing anything. Just eating fruits,” the President said.
Museveni however noted that there are other supplementary impediments to the continent’s economic progress, among them; ‘ideological meandering’, absence of transformative growth as well as sectarian ideology which he said has resulted into several armed conflicts.
“What’s causing these wars is ideological confusion. Some people decided to emphasize religious and tribal identity instead of focusing on interests. Tribes can’t help anyone to transform themselves economically,” he added.
Sectarian tendencies, he said will only create weak states and systems that cannot be sustainable.
Earlier on, former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in her keynote address underscored the need for the African continent to prioritize industrialization as a way of increasing intercontinental trade. She said that by prolonging the exportation of raw materials, Africa is giving away much needed jobs and revenue.
“We should change our mindset. Some of our elite pride in having imported furniture, clothes and the rest instead of developing the local industry to the same standard of the products we import,” Dlamini Zuma said.
But she also stressed the issue of safeguarding peace on the continent through dialogue. “We need peace but we also need development because if there’s no development, there can’t be peace. That way, young people won’t be bought off by extremists to go and carry guns.”