Mombasa — Nations can only get rich if they create conditions conducive enough for the private sector to thrive, President Museveni has said.
Speaking at the Kenya-Uganda business forum in Mombasa on Wednesday, President Museveni said for a long time, there had been a clash of views on how countries could get wealthy. But the matter was now resolved with the position that it was the private sector to lead this push.
The President is in Kenya on a three-day state visit on the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The business forum, which brings together key private sector players in the two countries, was held under the theme: "Strengthening Economic and Trade Partnership".
President Museveni said it was clear that the private sector is the one to create wealth, arguing that "trade is the only way for survival and it cannot be interfered with".
Mr Nicholas Nesbitt, the East African Business Council chairman, urged the private sector to be pro-active, look for global opportunities and take the Pan-Africanism stand in promoting business.
The President also emphasised the need for integration arguing that a country cannot solely rely on its internal market.
"That is why some of us speak about integration until we are about to suffer from throat cancer. Uganda has 40 million people, and some still very poor. You must look at the EAC, Comesa and now the Continental Free Trade Area. Without a market, there is no wealth ... no jobs and without jobs, there is no stability," he said.
Mr Amos Wekesa, a businessman and chief executive officer of Great Lakes Safaris Lodges, thanked the governments of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya for forming the East African tourist visa but urged them to encourage Tanzania to join.
He also asked for more initiative to exploit trans-boundary tourism, urging regional governments to reconsider the demand for yellow fever vaccination cards within the region.
Kenyatta urges on new opportunities
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, said Uganda and Kenya had the opportunity to be trailblazers in economic growth, adding: "I and Museveni believe that the future of Africa depends on the inter-trade relations." He also challenged the business community to explore new opportunities.