East African military CEOs meet in Kampala to assess defense progress

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East African military CEOs meet in Kampala to assess defense progress
Lt Gen Mugira addressing the meeting

The Chief Executive Officers of Military Industries from the East African Community Partner States are currently gathered in Kampala to assess the progress of operationalization of defence facilities offered for shared utilization and review the status of implementation of previous decisions and directives of the sectoral council on cooperation in defence.

Addressing the inaugural session of the meeting at Skyz Hotel, Kampala, Lieutenant General James Mugira, the Managing Director of the National Enterprise Corporation, underscored the critical role of defence industries.

He emphasised that they serve as vital strategic facilities, ensuring self-reliance and sustainable capabilities for supplying the Armed Forces during combat operations, thereby significantly contributing to a country's national defence.

"Uganda recognizes the paramount importance of developing Local defence industries as they are indispensable for self-reliance, particularly in terms of equipment, thereby reducing dependency on foreign countries for resupply during wartime. The imperative of self-reliance by the African Armed Forces due to historical factors and the evolving global landscape cannot be overstated. Sovereignty is compromised when a nation relies on foreign entities for its National defence," stated Mugira.

"I am gratified to note that as a region, through this Forum, we are not only prioritizing the advancement of local Defence Industries but also facilitating the joint utilization of our facilities," Mugira added.

He acknowledged that the defence sector is inherently complex and challenging due to rapid advancements in science and technology.

Consequently, Defence industries must accord strategic importance to research and development, encompassing the acquisition and enhancement of high-technology weaponry, alongside fostering technical expertise.

"As the EAC, collaborative efforts in this realm are imperative. Our Nations must engage in Joint Research and Development and harness science and technology to bolster our industrial base and capabilities, thereby effectively addressing present and future security challenges. Through this approach, our countries can gradually attain a degree of self-sufficiency in science and technology," said Mugira.

He urged EAC partner states to optimize their limited resources and capitalize on regional services instead of incurring substantial expenses by outsourcing similar services and products from overseas.

"For instance, Uganda has developed considerable capacity for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of military helicopters; hence, it is prudent for EAC countries to leverage this capacity rather than seeking such services abroad,” Mugira emphasised.

The meeting has drawn Defence Liaison Officers and Chief Executive Officers of Military Industrial Facilities from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda.

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