Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday gave a feedback of the recent BRICS meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa, stressing that he told participants that the East African Region had potential areas of trade and investment than anywhere else in the world.
Mr Museveni told leaders of the BRICS emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that after achieving the East African Community (EAC) Common Market and the Customs Union status, EAC had so far widened chances of business.
He was speaking at State House in Dar es Salaam after holding talks with President John Magufuli during his one-day State visit. Speaking at a joint press briefing session, the Ugandan President, who doubles as EAC Chairman, said returns of business in the region were higher than anywhere in the world, adding that the region had many tourist attractions.
“Many Chinese, for example, go to Europe to visit tourism sites, but we need to have at least one million Chinese nationals to visit East Africa. That is why in Uganda, I have decided to revive the ailing national airline company,’’ he explained.
The East African Community (comprises Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda with a population of 168 million people and combined GDP of US Dollars 440 billion.
By 2050, the population of East Africa is expected to be 878,236,244. Additionally, EAC is part of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which comprises most of the 1.25 billion people of Africa. During the BRICS meeting, Mr Museveni said companies could invest in some of the infrastructure elements such as building electricity generating units, modern railways, some roads, some health units and some tourism units.
“The rate of return on investment for the companies in East Africa is always of a magnitude of 11per cent, compared to 9 per cent in Europe, 8 per cent in Latin America and 13 per cent in Asia.
The rate of return in East Africa will improve with improved infrastructure which means lower costs of production,’’ said Mr Museveni. In his remarks, Dr Magufuli said the diplomatic relationship between Uganda and Tanzania had increased tremendously, adding that during a closed door meeting with the Ugandan President many issues related to trade and investment between the two countries were discussed.
“We discussed the Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline and directed ministers from our two countries and officials dealing with the project to increase the pace on the implementation of the project,’’ he said.
The two Heads of State further discussed the Burundi refugees, whereby many of them had returned to their mother country after observing that peace had returned.
Dr Magufuli thanked his Ugandan counterpart for his mediation endeavours in the Burundi crisis. President Museveni flew back to Uganda shortly thereafter.