Your Excellency President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, on behalf of the Ugandans who are here today and those at home, I greet Your Excellency and the brother People of Algeria and thank you for inviting me to this State visit.
The visit gives us the opportunity to discuss bilateral issues between our two Countries and also the future of Africa which has been under attack ever since 1453 when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and blocked the Western Countries from the Overland route to the East that had been pioneered by Marco-Polo between 1271 and 1295. That act by the Ottoman Turks was wrong and the Europeans, justifiably, started looking for a Sea route to the East, trying to go around the massive African continent and also going West.
Those efforts by the Europeans to get a Sea route to the East, gained dramatic success when in 1494, Christopher Columbus arrived in the New Continent, as far as Europe was concerned, America and, additionally, Vasco Da Gama, in 1498, went around the Southern tip of Africa and landed at Natal on Christmas Day, hence the name Natal, which means being born in Latin.
These exploration trips by the Europeans to look for a way of beating the blockade of the Turks, would have been justified if they did not quickly degenerate into slave-hunting expeditions. The first African slaves were taken from Morocco at Cape Blanco in the year 1444 and were taken to Portugal.
That slave – trading went on for 378 years until 1822 when some groups in the UK worked for the abolition of that evil trade. The slave trade, however, was replaced by Colonialism and the physical occupation of African lands by foreigners, until 1994, when the Africans liberated one of the last occupied lands, South Africa. Up to now, however, there are some Islands in the Oceans that are occupied by Foreigners.
In the last 579 years of Western aggression, Africa has suffered the evils of the Slave trade, Colonialism and neo-Colonialism – leading to massive dislocation of African Peoples, death and enslavement – that are still going on today. The suffering that is still going on today in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Libya, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, etc., is, in one way or the other, linked to the last phase of these six centuries’ foreign aggression, this is the phase of neo-Colonialism.
In all this suffering, however, the Africans, especially the leaders – the chiefs in the past and the political leaders after the flag Independence of the 1950s and 1960s – are also culpable on account of failing to organize the African People to defend themselves against these rapacious evil forces. Where this is done, we succeed and move forward.
The ANC of South Africa was formed in 1912, the first Resistance Movement led by the Nationalists, following the shameful total capitulation of Africa by 1900, except for Ethiopia. That formation of the ANC led to the eventual defeat of the strongest bastion of the occupiers in 1994 – the liberation of South Africa. Here, in Algeria, a heroic struggle was waged by FLN that led to the victory of 1962 – Algeria’s Independence.
A free Algeria, to take another example, trained 250 Mozambiquans, from whom a group of 48 was selected and these are the ones who launched the war against the Portuguese, on the 25th of September, 1964, which led to the defeat of those insolent imperialists that had occupied African territories for almost 500 years.
Algeria, Nasser’s Egypt, Sekou Toure’s Guinea, Nkrumah’s Ghana, Modibo Keita’s Mali, worked with, initially, the 3 frontline states of Mwalimu Nyerere’s Tanzania, Kaunda’s Zambia and Seretse Khama’s Botswana. Where we work together, we succeed. The Imperialists, both in the past and today, cannot defeat us, if we work together, work correctly and stand for the just causes of the African Peoples.
Algeria, therefore, working together with East Africa of which Uganda is a part, creates a very strong cluster for economic development as it did for the anti-colonial struggle in the past.
Following the victories by the African Peoples in the Wars of decolonization and starting with the Lagos Plan of action in 1980, the African leaders realized that in order to deal with the issue of African prosperity through the sale of goods and services, we had no alternative but integrate the African economies, in stages, leading to the formation of one African Common Market (CFTA in today’s way of speaking).
The logic is: “If you produce goods or services, but nobody or only a few people buy them, how will you create prosperity?” Secondly: “if you do not create prosperity through the sale of goods and services, how else will you create prosperity? Can you create prosperity, sustainably, for the Peoples of Africa through begging?” The answer provided by the Lagos Plan of action was to create prosperity through the integration of the African Market so as to support the African wealth creators (farmers, manufacturers, service providers, etc.), with a big market that would absorb what they produce. Although the logic is uncontestable, some actors do not grasp it clearly. Hence, you get delays in implementation because of this lack of grasp of this imperative.
Like in the anti-colonial struggle, it is crucial that even in this struggle, those countries whose leaders see this imperative should be the new “frontline states” for economic emancipation. Even for strategic security, we need this Pan- African effort, as was the case with the decolonization efforts. Our ancestors succeeded in the anti-colonial efforts in spite of having less capacity than what we now have in terms of education, infrastructure, economic development, the development of the Armed Forces, etc. Recently, I asked the following question:
“Are the present generation of African leaders determined to build a Latin America in Africa or a United States of Africa in Africa?” The two American continents had a similar history of colonization. However, with their breaking away from colonial control, the two continents took different paths: the North integrated politically and economically, while the South remained balkanized.
After 200 years, we can see the difference between prosperity and strength in the USA and poverty and weakness in Latin America in spite of the huge natural resources in that continent: freshwater, minerals, forests, etc. The problem there, as it is in Africa, is ideological, strategic and organizational.
To answer the question: “How should we politically or economically organize ourselves to support the wealth creators of Africa or any continent?” Provided we give them an integrated market, the Ugandan wealth creators (the farmers, the manufacturers, the service providers – individuals and companies), will produce a lot of coffee, tea, milk, beef, fish, forest products, maize, bananas, electric vehicles, electric motorcycles, fertilizers, cocoa, cotton textiles, footwear and leather, pharmaceuticals and vaccines, etc., etc. Algerian and other African wealth creators have similarly long lists of products they can provide to the African and global markets. That is why the CFTA is so crucial and so are the bilateral trade relations like those between Algeria and Uganda.
Salutations to the People of Algeria and good health to Your Excellency. It is for these reasons that I am happy to be here so that we push for the further emancipation of the African Continent together with all our other brothers and sisters that fight for the legitimate interests of the African People.
Salutations to the Algerian brothers and sisters.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
13th March, 2023 Algiers