President Yoweri Museveni addresses the 71st Sssion of the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York .
By Frederic Musisi
Kmapala — President Museveni has told world leaders gathered for the United Nations summit in New York that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the world body adopted a year ago, mirror the 10 bottlenecks he identified to be impeding Africa’s 10 development.
In his addresses delivered around midnight (Ugandan time), Mr Museveni described the SDGs as “a different way of diagnosing and providing a prescription for the problems of under-development.”
“… we are happy that, at last, the global agenda captures most of the ingredients necessary for growth and transformation of societies as happened in the past for those societies that pioneered the Industrial revolution. In particular, the inclusion of energy on the list of the SDGs is a departure from the past global agendas,” he said.
World leaders are attending the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world.” The UN adopted the 17-point SDGs under Uganda’s chairmanship.
President Museveni said the theme of the ongoing UN General Assembly “is a good topic” that “adds another nail in the coffin of the old parasitic arrangement where only a small portion of humanity ─ those living in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New-Zealand, lived in affluence while the rest of the world lived in abject poverty”.
The reasoning at the time, he said, was as if one could not be affluent without doing so at the expense of somebody else. This logic has now been challenged, the President added, citing 1981- 2010 statistics that shows that 380 million and 207 million of people in China and India, respectively, have come out of poverty. “Even in Africa, a continent with alot of accumulated disadvantages, 414 millions of people have come out of poverty,” Mr Museveni said.
Mr Museveni spoke in New York hours after the World Bank released a report in Kampala showing poverty Uganda had overall declined by 7 percentage points to 19 per cent within 7 years from 2006. The World Bank, however, said poverty, which for the study it defined as lack of access to money, had increased in northern and eastern parts of the country.
The reported general reduction in poverty was likely to be well-received by government that has committed to turn Uganda into a middle-income country within the next four years.
Mr Museveni said in New York that the spread of affluence around the world has benefited both the old and new societies in a reciprocal manner, citing the example of the United States, the world’s biggest economy according to the World Bank, and European Union, the second biggest economy, are exporting goods and services worth $120b and $356b annually, respectively.
He, however, said there are two crucial bottlenecks that are missing in the SDGs: ideological disorientation and market integration. “Nevertheless, there is no harm in singling out and highlighting this problem of the pseudo ─ ideology that exploits identities of people (religion, tribe, race, gender) and eclipses the interests of the people (balanced trade, for instance),” Mr Museveni stressed.
President has in various speeches locally, regionally, and internationally stated that Africa has 10 enduring bottlenecks that have kept it under-developed. A section of African leaders meeting last month for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi agreed to use the Ugandan leader’s paper and issues he highlighted as a template to drive development conversation on the continent.