FULL SPEECH: Distinguished participants, At the outset, I bring you greetings from H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the people of Uganda.
I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the excellent hospitality they have extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this wonderful city of Bahir Dar.
Uganda greatly appreciates the invitation to this High Level Forum on Security in Africa, where we, together, get the opportunity to engage and explore African led security solutions.
As we respond to the August 2009 African Union Tripoli declaration on the Elimination of conflicts and promotion of Sustainable peace on our continent, I am confident that we shall share views and experiences in a time efficient, results-oriented, and open manner that will adequately address this year’s theme which is “Managing Security Threats: Building Resilience for the Africa We Want”.
Unconstitutional Change of Government: “Coup D’état” Our sister countries of Chad, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Sudan and Burkina Faso are dealing with the aftermath of coup d‟états that occurred in the last 18 months. These takeovers have fueled instability in the Maghreb, East Africa and the Horn.
Uganda commends The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for all the efforts they are undertaking to ensure that these states do commit to civilian transitions by holding elections at an appropriate time.
Eighteen African countries were slated to hold elections this year; this has undoubtedly been a measure of the continent’s resilience in as far as building democratic governance is concerned.
We congratulate all those who have successfully and peacefully held their elections and wish the same to those countries yet to hold theirs.
Uganda, as well, commends The Southern African Development Community (SADC)for their diplomatic efforts in eSwatini where they are trying to establish a national dialogue process after months of tension in that beautiful Kingdom.
Global Insecurity affecting the Continent Radical extremism has been on the rise in the world. According to the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, for Africa, the activities of terrorists and violent extremists have been on an upward trajectory and are reported in the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, Great Lakes Region and in the Horn of Africa, etc, by armed actors such as, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, the Lord Resistance Army of Joseph Kony; and the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) which is affiliated to Daesh, among others.
In the Great Lakes Region, negative elements such as the ADF, recruits not only in Uganda but also other countries in the region and poses a great threat to our national, regional and international peace and security.
Worldwide, radical extremists are said to exploit grievances linked to structural factors such as unemployment; underdevelopment; poverty; lack of access to education; real or perceived political or social exclusion; ethnic, national and religious discrimination; and marginalization.
These lead to radicalization of young people and their being easily recruited into violence, while promising them an alternative and better livelihood.
It is in addressing these challenges, collectively, that we can work towards eliminating the scourge.
The Russia-Ukraine war is raising the cost of staple foods at a time of extreme food insecurity in many parts of the world, including Africa.
Some countries on our continent are experiencing food insecurity while others are experiencing famine-like conditions. We should work towards reversing this trend.
Covid 19 in the context of Peace and Security on the African Continent:
It was predicted that the impact of COVID-19 would be particularly catastrophic to Africa. However, over the 24 months since the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Africa on 14th February 2020 in Egypt, the pattern has been one of resilience.
I congratulate the African countries in the fight against covid 19.
Now we have to deal with the manufacture of our own vaccines and scientifically prepare for any unseen epidemics.
Climate change, Preparedness, Adaptation and Financing
We note that Global efforts to address climate change continue to fall short of what is required to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal well below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Last year’s global climate negotiations (COP26) resulted in some gains, for example financing for adaptation and curbing deforestation.
Commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions remain insufficient, as do financing commitments to help developing countries to adapt to climate change.
In less than a month from today, Egypt will be hosting COP27. Billed as the “Africa COP”, Africa should seek for opportunities to secure meaningful commitments to its agenda.
Africa has long been clear about its climate priorities the region needs financing to support adaptation, as well as technology transfer and other forms of support.
Africa is acutely aware of the need for climate action, but such action should also support the region’s development and industrialization ambitions that will require skills and capacity development, green jobs and investment.
At COP 27 Africa needs to push for concrete action and more ambitious commitments around climate financing.
Oil and Gas
There is need to support African Countries in commercializing their oil and gas reserves because this will also provide funds for some countries like Uganda, which have these resources, to develop and invest in more renewable energy sources and the achievement of energy access for all their people.
In addition, Liquefied Petroleum Gas from such projects will be key in providing a cleaner cooking energy source that will save forest cover, which is being lost rapidly to charcoal and firewood.
Functional relevance of existing Peace and security Institutions and normative Frameworks at Regional ad.
The Peace and Security Council (PSC), the most visible component of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) to date, supported by the Commission, a Panel of the Wise, a Continental Early Warning System, an African Standby Force and a Special Fund), is yet to deliver the expected dividends.
Among other things, the objectives of the PSC are to promote peace, security and stability in Africa, in order to guarantee the protection and preservation of life and property.
Harnessing Africa’s Cultural Heritage for resilience and Integration African countries have a rich and varied cultural heritage with huge potential to facilitate and promote social cohesion and sustainable development in the region.
Lakes, Rivers, Game Parks which cut across African countries should a source of unity as opposed to conflict.
The challenge is to build on this varied cultural heritage and help fledgling economies benefit from sustainable development.
Africa’s cultural environment requires the strengthening of institutional and individual capacities.
In this regard, Africa’s Partnership with UNESCO can be an opportunity to help strengthen:
Policies and professional capacities necessary to ensure the effective protection, safeguarding and promotion of heritage; respect for cultural identities and the development of viable cultural and creative industries as drivers for growth and peace;
Efforts to combat prejudice, racism and discrimination and to foster reconciliation and new ways of living together undertaken in the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
Moderator Sir, As I close, I wish to share with you some of the concrete actions Uganda has taken in managing “Security threats and Building the resilience for the Africa we want”:
1. Regarding the Coup D’états, Uganda remains categorical that “coup-makers have no right to interfere with Africa’s destiny”.
We are supportive of the African Union’s minimum position of outlawing these coups.
As President Museveni has clearly put it, Uganda believes in Elections of one person, one vote and by secret ballot, at regular intervals. We strongly believe that this minimum, set by the AU, is a good one.
2. We have enhanced compliance with Continental, Regional and National laws to address threats to constitutional order.
Uganda believes that Peace efforts must be like the Christian Trinity, involving the three levels of internal players, regional players and the international players.
3. In a bid to address Global insecurity, our view has been to engage the youth and keep them away from being lured into violent extremism and fundamentalism.
In this endeavor, the Government of Uganda has adopted both HARD and SOFT approaches to deal with terrorism and radicalization, in an enduring effort to deal with the root causes of this challenge.
In addressing the Nexus between Development and industralisation, Uganda has designed, and is currently implementing, the PARISH DEVELOPMENT MODEL as an allinclusive development and service delivery approach aimed at organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.
4. Uganda Government has also established dedicated programs to address the concerns of the Youth such as: Youth Livelihood Program; Youth Venture Capital Fund; GreenJobs and Fair Markets Program; Youth Innovation Fund; Uganda Skills Development Project; Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility; and Operation Wealth Creation; among others. These programs are designed to support young people to find employment by extending grants and other support to small groups of young entrepreneurs, to help them start small businesses and create employment for other young jobseekers such as engaging in commercial agriculture, industrialization, services and ICT.
5. In order to enhance the building of democratic institutions on our continent, Uganda urges all AU members to firmly embrace The African Peer Review Mechanism a continental good governance monitoring and promotion tool – it is striving for universal accession by 2023. Currently, 41 of Africa‟s 55 states, including Uganda, are voluntary members.