President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has Saturday opened the Uganda-DRC business forum at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The forum that has attracted businessmen from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Uganda seeks to strengthen trade and investment between the two countries in an environment of peace, security and stability.
In a later tet-a-tet meeting at state house, Entebbe, president Museveni also welcomed his DRC counterpart to Uganda and said he was happy that despite the colonial borders, they are slowly coming back together as Africans.
“It is my pleasure to welcome His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi, First Lady Denise and the entire Congolese delegation to Uganda. It is H.E. Tshisekedi’s second visit since he was elected. I need to rectify the imbalance by visiting Kinshasa,” President Museveni said.
Mr. Museveni said that for East Africa and Africa in general, prosperity comes from doing business with each other because this helps us to produce goods and services instead of importing.
“We both agree that prosperity in this modern era comes from business. If a factory produces quality goods and sells more, it fetches more income, creates more jobs and more wealth,” he said.
DRC is a key and strategic trading partner of Uganda with a huge market of more than 80m people and presents enormous opportunities.
On his part, President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo told his host that he is consulting elders in the region to see how his country can shift from a conflict zone to economic cooperation.
“I admire your knowledge on the history of this region. That is why I came to you and agreed with you that we must engage more in trade instead of conflicts. Am happy that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is in place to promote trade and bring our countries together. I’m consulting elders in the region to see how we can shift from the conflict zone to economic cooperation. Unfortunately, some of the regions in my country are still in conflict,” President Tshisekedi said.
He also said that he was making consultations on how negative forces can be eliminated from the region through reconciliation and repatriation so that they can live peacefully as one people.
“We need your knowledge, wisdom and guidance to reach far that is why we are here,” he said.
Tshisekedi commended President Yoweri Museveni for the warm welcome and apologized for the delay on arrivals saying it was because of issues of ‘protocol’.
“There was a change in protocol, when I came here before, I was in the opposition, now this is different…they played our real national anthem,” added.