Uganda will learn a lot from Equatorial Guinea on how to utilize oil funds for development, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
He was speaking on Wednesday evening during a joint press with the visiting Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo at State House, Entebbe.
Obiang, 74, who has been in power since 1979, is in the country on a two day state visit on the invitation of Museveni. He gave a key note address at the ongoing oil and gas expo at Serena Hotel yesterday.
The Spanish speaking Equatorial Guinea is a small nation of 1.2m people located on the West coast of Central Africa. Since 1994, Equatorial Guinea has been producing oil. Production has risen to 360,000 barrels per day in the recent years.
During the press conference, Museveni said he witnessed infrastructure development in towns spurred by oil revenue funds on the two occasions he visited Equatorial Guinea.
Museveni noted that Uganda’s priority is not only oil production but also areas like agriculture and industrialization of major mineral and agro processing industries. He said Uganda is developing an integrated steel and fertilizer industry using phosphate.
President Museveni also revealed that once oil production starts, Uganda will get aviation fuel, which will make Uganda Airline competitive. Uganda is in the process of reviving its national Airline, which was grounded in 2001.
President Obiang who spoke through a translator said Equatorial Guinea will help Uganda in sectors such as oil where it has experience since they have been production oil for more than 20years.
“We are not going to hide that we have got difficulties when it comes to exploiting petroleum resources,” he said. “We are going to train Ugandans so that you can safeguard your resources,” he added.
Obiang said Equatorial Guinea has got the requisite experience and will advise Uganda when it comes to signing petroleum related agreements.
“We are going to help Uganda on how to sign contracts. This is because we want you to avoid some pitfalls, which we went through when we were starting because they (partners) tried to deceive us,” Obiang said.
“There are clauses in these contracts enabling them (partners) to gain a lot. We have a lot of contracts in Equatorial Guinea and we shall help you to avoid some of these deceits,” he added.
In June, Obiang said they will set up a center where Ugandans will be trained in oil related field. The press briefing was preceded by a meeting between the two heads of state and meeting between Equatorial Guinea and Uganda delegation of ministers and senior government officials.
The two countries signed four memorandums of understanding including cooperation in the oil and gas sector, bilateral consultation on issues of mutual interest, establishment of permanent joint commissions for cooperation between Uganda and Equatorial Guinea and memorandum of understanding in regard to economic and cultural cooperation.
President Museveni noted that they had agreed to establish diplomatic missions as soon as possible.
The two leaders also spoke about the need to bolster continental peace, trade and security. “Trading with each other is crucial for Africa’s prosperity. Before we trade with Americans and Chinese, we need a very strong continental market,” Museveni said.
On security, Museveni argued that there is no reason why the continent should be experiencing insecurity. He said the insecurity distressing some African countries is not due to lack of capacity to deal with it but consensus.
Obiang said; “If we stop importing European products, we shall have a real revolution in Africa. Our markets are full of products from European countries yet we are producing a lot and we don’t have market outside Africa.”