President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the NRM presidential candidate, has said that he would have retired long ago but he is still waiting to oversee the integration of the East African region.
Museveni made the remarks while meeting NRM leaders from Busia at Madibira primary School grounds in Busia municipality on Tuesday afternoon.
“I want to retire at my farm in Rwakitura but I want to leave when there is an East African government instead of these individual countries. You as NRM leaders should know that Africa will never succeed if we don’t have a large market brought about by integration,” Museveni said.
According to Museveni, the region provides a bigger market compared to individual member states and cited an example of China with a population of 1.4 billion that he said is still looking for markets for its goods in other countries, despite having a big population.
“As I speak in Ankole they have milk in plenty, in Busoga, they grow more sugarcanes leading to plenty of sugar, milk, maize is also in plenty, matooke is also in plenty. The industries are also producing many goods but unfortunately, the local market is no longer enough. The more we wake up is the more we will realize that we need East Africa and Africa,” he said.
“We need to be closer to our brothers from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC and Sudan so that we talk to them to open their borders so that goods can move freely. Whoever produces something good can easily sell in each other country’s market. “
The NRM presidential candidate asked the party leaders to preach the gospel of East African integration to the entire population so that they appreciate the rationale behind the idea of coming together.
“The Chinese have a big local market but they are fighting to get other markets. If an economy with a population of 1.4 billion is yearning for foreign markets, why is it that you with only 40 million people are just sleeping? Why are you so satisfied? That means you don’t know what you are doing.”
Museveni underscored the role of all Africans to advocate for integration so as to provide for a bigger market for products.
President Museveni was last year tasked by the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State meeting in Arusha, Tanzania to oversee the political federation process of the regional bloc.