The New Times (Kigali)

Africa: Ugandan First Lady Roots for Increased Food Production

The Ugandan First Lady, Janet Museveni, has called on African countries to devote more resources to food production as a means of promoting peace and stability on the continent.

Mrs. Museveni was speaking yesterday at a high level meeting of IGAD member states in Kampala to launch a regional strategy on conflict early warning and response.

"I stand here to ring a bell for a wake-up call that we, as Africans, must wake up and realise that instead of using these funds for seminars on 'conflict analysis and facilitation', we should just use those same resources to provide our people with food production means," she said.

The IGAD area has agriculture as its backbone, which stands at 80 percent while industries are only 20 percent on average.

She called on member states to denounce issues that exaggerate their differences, and requested them to downplay the political and administrative borders bequeathed to them by colonialists.

"Our identity is one and our destiny is the same," she said.

The meeting marked a significant commitment by member states on early warning information sharing as well as joint policy and operational response to emerging threats of violent conflict.

The strategy plan informs future operations of IGAD's Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) and builds on its previous work with a particular focus on cross border pastoral and related conflicts.

With a population of 212 million people, member states have previously complained that globalization of the world economy is posing challenges for the development of IGAD.

IGAD member states include Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea, South Sudan and Uganda.

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