Japan should grant Uganda access to its market and also invest in Africa if the Asian country is to strengthen ties with the continent, President Museveni has said.
The President made the remarks during a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Chinzo Abe, today (Sunday) at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The East African country is hosting the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
President Museveni said: “Good projects have been undertaken between Uganda and Japan. I am pleased with progress in the construction of a bridge in Jinja, the roads in Kampala that include flyovers and hospitals.”
The President said Uganda is buying road construction equipment from Japan because it is of good quality.
Africa, the President said, had been consuming few products in the past but the trend was changing with an increasing population.
The President listed four key areas of cooperation that should be stressed between Uganda and Japan.
The first, he said, is access to Japanese market to help create a balance of trade.
“We have bought from Japan for a long time. Uganda, for example, began buying Japanese cars before independence in 1962,” said the President. “Since then, we have bought more from Japan than it has from us. We have supported the Japanese economy and prosperity. We have supported your factories and helped you get jobs. Japan should not create a balance of trade.”
The second area, according to the President is infrastructure, which he commended Japan for already supporting through the various projects being undertaken.
President Museveni also asked Japan to encourage its tourists to come to Uganda, noting that it would be an easier way of creating a balance of trade.
The fourth area would be Japanese companies investing in Uganda with the President observing that the products would be sold here, in Africa, in Japan and other markets.
President Museveni also informed the Japanese Prime Minister that Uganda had implemented United Nations recommendations on North Korea by severing all agreements between the two countries although it has not broken diplomatic ties.
On his part, Prime Minister Chinzo Abe said he was delighted meeting the President, adding that the two countries’ relations had grown stronger since the principals’ last meeting in September last year.
He acknowledged that it was important to discuss market access because it was vital for the two countries, reiterating that the private sectors of Uganda and Japan needed to work together.
Abe said his country was ready to continue providing quality infrastructure to Uganda, adding that Japan would provide a $116 million loan to improve Kampala metropolitan infrastructure.
Prime Minister Abe also briefed President Museveni on geopolitical developments in Asia concerning the East and South China Sea Zone, North Korea and the push for reforms at the United Nations.
At the end of the meeting, Abe introduced several chief executive officers of companies interested in investing in Uganda.
Earlier, President Museveni had addressed the second plenary session of TICAD, reiterating his position that Japan invests in infrastructure, creates access to its market, gets more investors to Africa and supports the continent in ICT training.