Minister Oboth Calls for Regional Collaboration in the Defence Industries at the Closure of the CEOs’ Meeting

The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Honourable Jacob Marksons Oboth has today presided over the closure of the 3-day East Africa Community (EAC) meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of Military Industrial facilities availed for shared utilization at Skyz Hotel in Kampala.

During his speech, Honorable Oboth urged the delegates to harness their respective countries’ comparative advantages and cultivate interdependence instead of competing.

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“We can all be independent. But on matters of security and defence products, we can afford to be interdependent. Let us harness the comparative advantages so that we feed one another rather than competing amongst ourselves,” said Hon. Oboth.

He emphasised the crucial role played by defence industries globally in various sectors such as defence, security, and economic development. He pointed out that East Africa should not lag in in such a crucial sector.

“Defence in this region is doing enormous work in producing defence and security products, the main constraint being the inability to produce our raw materials regardless of the abundance of the various essential minerals in the region,” said Hon. Oboth.

Minister Oboth noted that although the region has abundant resources, it still faces the challenge of acquiring raw materials for military production and promised to follow up on the issue in the relevant fora.

“Africa and East Africa in particular is endowed with all the required minerals for the production of all defence and civilian products. We must harness these great resources for the production of quality and cost-effective defence products for the defence of our countries, region and the continent,” Hon. Oboth noted.

The Chairperson of the meeting and the Director General of the Defence National Security Industries in Kenya, Major General Bernard Waliaula, said that they had a fruitful meeting that involved member states who gave presentations on the progress of establishing defence industries in their respective countries and their future plans.

“The spirit of the meeting is to look forward with renewed hope and understanding that we want to achieve self-reliance, cut costs in production and look at each other for solutions. With the inclusion of Somalia, the population of the East African Community is over 450 million. This is a good market for each of the Partner States,” said Maj Gen Waliaula.

The General Manager – Luwero Industries Limited, Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi, who played host of the meeting, expressed gratitude for the delegates who turned up in a significant number.

“As the hosts of the meeting, we are extremely grateful for turning up in bug numbers to come and attend this serious discussion, which is on the most important aspect of our life, which is defence,” said Maj Gen Sabiiti.

He commended the political efforts that have created a framework for the community’s growth.

“We now have the East African Community expanding from one ocean to another, a bigger population where to select skills and a lot of facilities in this community that we can share and have a better-skilled ratio in several sectors; it is an opportunity that we must exploit,” Maj Gen Sabiiti said.

The meeting closed with the adoption and signing of the report of the meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of Military Industrial Facilities Availed for Shared Utilization.

The meeting attracted Defence Liaison Officers and Chief Executive Officers of Military Industrial Facilities from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda.

The meeting of East African Community Chief Executive Officers of Military Industry Facilities is held annually in different East African Community countries.

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