Last month, the governments of Uganda and South Sudan hosted a joint business forum in Juba which attracted hundreds of those from the private sectors.
During the forum, Uganda’s Ambassador to South Sudan, H.E Brigadier General Ronnie Balya delivered what has been termed as extraordinary address to participants on behalf of government of Uganda.
In his address, Ambassador Balya emphasized Uganda’s commitment in promoting regional trade, security and integration.
Below are his full address;
OPENING REMARKS BY
H.E BRIG. GEN. RONNIE BALYA ‘ndc’
UGANDA AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY TO THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
THE UGANDA – SOUTH SUDAN JOINT BUSINESS FORUM
18TH JULY – 21ST JULY 2022
JUBA – SOUTH SUDAN
Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Uganda Embassy in the Republic of South Sudan, I welcome you all to the Republic of South Sudan and specifically Juba the Capital City.
The Uganda Embassy in collaboration with the South Sudan Embassy in Kampala, supported by the private Sector, the appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Uganda and South Sudan, – especially Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry organized the first ever – Uganda – South Sudan Joint Business Forum, with a Symposium and Exhibition.
I am extremely happy that it is being actualized today.
The Forum will enable the private sector in Uganda and South Sudan examine achievements and challenges, but also identify opportunities that can be explored to expand their businesses.
On 22nd June 2022 we launched the South Sudan – Uganda Business Forum in Juba.
On 29th June 2022 we conducted a similar launch in Kampala.
Both functions were covered widely by the media and we sincerely appreciate their efforts to inform the community.
The Republic of Uganda and the Republic of South Sudan have strong historical ties, vibrant diplomatic relations and trade between the two Sister Countries is flourishing.
Both Countries are members of the EAC, IGAD and the Nile Basin Initiative, promoting Regional Integration and Cooperation. It is also important to note that the two countries are led by two Liberation Movements born out of Resistance Struggles against bad leadership. We have common ideals, but most important to ensure peace, freedom and prosperity.
Therefore, the Geo–Political–Strategic value and significance of the Uganda
– South Sudan Cooperation is absolute.
Uganda exports to South Sudan are in the range of US$ 350m – US$ 400m, and South Sudan exports to Uganda are in the range of US$ 80m – US$ 100m.
Before the war in 2013, Uganda exports to South Sudan were approaching US$ 1Bn.
Now that Peace has returned to South Sudan, I encourage our people in Uganda to embrace this opportunity to expand trade and investment and focus more on Joint Venture Business in the various areas; Industry, Agriculture, ICT, Services – like Health, Education, Banking, Real Estate, Hospitality, Tourism, Infrastructure development etc.
What is the theme of the Joint Business Forum?
“ENHANCING BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT THROUGH INDUSTRIALIZATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT”
What are the objectives of the Forum?
To create an enabling platform that allows the Uganda and South Sudan private sectors to identify opportunities and challenges of Cross border trade and Investment, create Business to Business networks and share experiences.
To establish a Uganda – South Sudan Joint Business Forum.
To raise awareness about investment and business opportunities in both Countries.
To boost bilateral trade and investment flow.
To showcase the Uganda and South Sudan private sectors through a business exhibition.
To facilitate public – private sector dialogue to solve business hurdles between Uganda and South Sudan.
What are the expected outcomes?
- Private Sector;
Get to know opportunities for;-
- Getting credible first-hand information on investment, trade and business options in Uganda and South Sudan.
- Accessing Finance.
- Understanding regulatory, taxation and legal regimes.
- Networking for potential partnerships.
- Sharing challenges in doing business, and in the investment climate.
· Public Sector; Understanding of;-
- Private sector needs, to invest and do business.
- Needed reforms to promote an improved business environment.
- Value of public – private dialogue.
- Private Sector;
- Large, medium, small and start – up companies from Uganda and South Sudan.
- Potential investors from the region and the rest of the world.
· Public Sector
- Policy makers, Public Sector Agencies and business Support Institutions from Uganda and South Sudan.
The Republic of Uganda is a secure, stable, united, democratic and prosperous country.
It attained Independence on 9th October 1962.
However, between 1966 and 1986 (for almost 20 years), the Country went through dark periods of political turmoil, leading to the collapse of the Economy and a fractured Country, because of tribalism, religious sectarianism and dictatorship.
From 1981 to 1986, the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) led by
- Rtd Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni conducted a successful war of resistance which liberated the whole country from fascism and restored the Rule of Law (Constitutionalism). There is nothing more important in a Country than rule of law – observed by the LED and the LEADERS. It must be a two way traffic, with mutual respect.
The NRM is a mission – driven Liberation Movement for social and economic transformation of the country and its population.
Therefore, since 1986, we have recovered from that bad history, after we sat down and made a thorough DIAGNOSIS of Uganda’s problems and honestly answered the question – “Who is the Enemy of Uganda, Who is the Enemy of Africa?”
We came up with an appropriate PRESCRIPTION/A CURE of our disease as a Country. (The NATIONAL IDEOLOGY/PRINCIPLES), which act as our political compass.
Uganda has moved from a failed state, through a fragile state to now a solid state.
We cannot reverse the past, but we can learn from it. Lessons Learnt.
We cannot re-write history, delete it or distort it, but we should never repeat the bad mistakes.
History does not repeat itself, (as some people say it does), it is fools who repeat past mistakes, especially the grave ones like barbaric bloodshed.
Therefore, Uganda as a Country has resolved, never to allow a repeat of the bad history.
The National Resistance Movement government in Uganda has FIVE PRINCIPLES which inform our Ideology and Strategy.
The Ideological foundations both in THEORY and PRACTICE are;
- Pan – Africanism.
- Social and Economic transformation.
- Security for all.
Principle Number five of the NRM government of the Republic of Uganda is SECURITY FOR ALL.
It is not a favor by the government, but a duty and obligation.
During the resistance war, we fought State – Inspired violence, extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions, raping women, grabbing people’s property. We restored security of person and legitimately/ legally owned property.
We have a sensitized army, police force, prisons service and intelligence services with conscious discipline, a Strict Code of Conduct and anti – corruption mechanisms.
Those who go against the Law and regulations are punished accordingly, without fear or favor.
We trained and sensitized the population on ensuring vigilance and maintaining law and order in their communities and localities. We therefore empowered them.
We demystified the gun, the military uniform and the soldier that were feared in the past, we tamed them, they are now servants of the people not their bosses.
We resolved never again to allow ANARCHY in our Country or disintegration of the Country.
An Example of anarchy is a NATIONAL PARK, where big animals kill small animals at will, the way they wish. A Lion grabbing an antelope for lunch, and another for supper! Because there is no authority among the animals, none is in charge of rights and freedoms, i.e. there is no COMMAND AND CONTROL. Total breakdown of law and order!
This should never be allowed to happen in any Country, in order to uphold the dignity of the people.
The Principle of Separation of Powers in Uganda is religiously adhered to, after being restored by the NRM Government.
The three arms of government; The Executive, The Legislature (Parliament) and The Judiciary perform their mandates without undue interference or Influence peddling. This is very good practice for the private sector to flourish.
The Rule of Law and Good Governance ensure security of property ownership and nobody can grab your business enterprise without following the due process of the law, even if you have a case to answer. Competent Courts handle cases independently without intimidation.
Road blocks that used to be the order of the day extorting money were abolished.
The Uganda Diaspora, now contribute to the Economy over 1Bn US$ per year, because they have faith in their home Country, unlike in the past when they feared to invest at home.
Globally, there are two categories of threats;
- Traditional threats; These include threats from foreign aggressors against National Sovereignty or the foreign state – sponsored threats against the internal stability and cohesion of a given Country.
- Non – Traditional threats; These are threats to National Security and Human Security that have evolved beyond military actions and which challenge the State; they include violent extremism, terrorism, economic subversion, organized crime, climate change leading to environmental degradation, food insecurity, poverty, youth unemployment, clean and safe water scarcity, poor sanitation epidemics, pandemics, wildfires, floods, drought, landslides, cyber crime, CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear materials) etc.
All these threats and challenges have been securitized in order to attain special attention.
Therefore, there is a paradigm shift in security as conventionally defined, from the traditional focus on conventional military threats and the protection of borders against incursions by other states.
Environmental, ideological, political and trans – national Crimes are combining in ways that are challenging conventional solutions and doctrines.
As you realize, our challenges are great, but our resolve is greater. The threats and challenges are not insurmountable.
We are prepared to handle all threats swiftly and decisively. Why? Because;
- We have a GOOD CAUSE, i.e. ensuring law and order, and protecting life and property.
- We have the WILL, i.e. the desire, the courage, the drive, the motivation, the morale, the firm resolve and the patriotism.
- We have the RIGHT CAPACITY/ABILITY and EXPERIENCE; i.e. the Human Resource/Manpower, – well trained with good knowledge, skills and the right attitude, plus the necessary logistics and equipment, – in order to defend national unity, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- We have the SUPPORT OF THE POPULATION; i.e. there is popular vigilance and intelligence gathering. Actually, this has been our CENTRE OF GRAVITY (COG) since the resistance struggle against dictatorships which began in the 1970s and 1980s.
Therefore, I take this opportunity to assure the Private Sector in Uganda and South Sudan that the State through its Security Services and agencies shall remain visible, available, accessible and approachable in order to dominate the ground (overtly and covertly) and be felt in fighting and averting criminality proactively.
We shall continue working closely with Sister Countries in EAC, African Region and globally to ensure international peace and security in order for international trade and investment to prosper.
With those few remarks, I wish you fruitful deliberations and a happy and safe stay in South Sudan. Thank you for embracing this occasion.