- Feb 10, 2006
Source: The Monitor - UgandaPresident Yoweri Museveni yesterday blamed the World Bank and European Union for failing some investment projects in Uganda.
He warned that the same mistakes done with donors in Uganda should not be repeated by other East African countries. Opening the first East African Investment Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, Mr Museveni blamed the World Bank for failing progress on the construction of Bujagali dam in Eastern Uganda. He lashed out at the EU for facilitating and funding the construction of a substandard road in Uganda.
Mr Museveni, who opened the conference in his capacity as the chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, cautioned that EAC partner states should not solely depend on donors for economic development.
"The construction of this dam was started sometime back but it delayed on account of the slow movement of the World Bank. We set up an Energy Fund. With this fund once the construction company was awarded this tender, we put forward $75m for them to start the construction. We are ready to fund the whole project if the external lenders and equity contributor has any problems," Mr. Museveni said.
"It is because of the past mistakes with donors that we set up this 'Energy Fund'. We now have $215m in the Energy Fund'. This money is wholly raised by the Ugandan tax-payers. The construction of Bujagali dam has now started and we expect it to yield 250 megawatts," Mr Museveni said.
The President who travelled by road to Kigali with a cross section of over five of his cabinet members, also added that the construction of Karuma Dam would start by the end of 2008. He said that building hydro dams in Uganda would go on with or without private partners.
"As far as energy is concerned Uganda will never be in deficit again. We hope to soon build a heavy fuel and gas electricity station in Hoima using our oil," Mr Museveni said.
Mr Kategaya who is also the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers said that EAC is a big investment destination with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $44b.
The opening session of the conference was also addressed by all the EAC Heads of State with the exception of Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania who had not yet arrived. It was also addressed by Secretary General of the EAC Juma Mwapachu.
The conference has attracted over 700 delegates from EAC states and over 200 investors form beyond East Africa. The President was particularly angry with the type of roads built. "I was told that these people (the donors) construct two kinds of roads including 'Third world' roads and 'European roads'.
Apparently these 'Third world' roads last only 15 years and need repair by the 7th year unlike European roads which are designed to last 50 years."
"If that is the case why do our partners not then provide the money for reconstruction by the 14th year so that reconstruction starts in the 15th year? The Katuna, Malaba, Busia road has suffered because of this. This mistake, like that of those of the past won't happen again," he added.
Mr. Museveni also said that as far as Uganda was concerned railway and the undersea cable were still the sectors that required attention. He called upon Kenya and Tanzania to partner in the development of the two.
The EAIC is a brain child of the Rwandan government. It was organised by the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency together with the EAC Secretariat as well as regional Investment Promotion Agencies including the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).
By yesterday afternoon, Mr Museveni was also expected to have opened the ninth summit of EAC Heads of State..
Written by: Kezio Musoke - Kigali