MATIA Kasaija says African young men are very prolific in child bearing.
Meanwhile, Kasaija said borrowing is not bad but the issue is what use the money is put to and the ability to repay.
The Ugandan finance minister caused laughter at the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank (TDA) board of governors annual meeting on Thursday in Livingstone when he said African young men “are doing a very good job at night.”
But he warned youth unemployment would become a political problem if not attended to.
Kasaija, the TDA chairperson of the Board of Governors, said the issue of youth unemployment was a big issue in his country.
“My headache here is how to resolve this. Here in
Africa, we are very prolific. I don’t know here in Zambia but in Uganda the average rate is now 5.3 children, they are coming. They do a very good job those young men at night, and then we have also made sure that they don’t die. Every child that is born almost lives, seriously,” he said. “These children we are educating them. When they are
educated, they have tested good life, they want a good job and they want to have a modern standard jobs. The question is what do you do
with them? If we don’t think, as leaders, then these kids will become a political problem to us.”
Meanwhile, Kasaija said Africa is still wallowing in some kind of poverty because of exporting its wealth outside the continent.
He said although he started working in 1969 getting a very good
salary as a young man then he was still struggling today.
“Borrowing is not a problem because money is never enough at domestic, national or international levels. Borrowing is not bad, you must borrow
because you want money. The issue is what use you put that money to,” he said. “When you borrow, invest in such a way that you can be able to pay
Kasaija said there was need for Africa to add value
to its natural resources.
“At independence we made promises to do something on commodity dependency and yet we are yet to do something…we were forced to
reflect on why we trade with each other very little. In our further reflections we realised that there have been inadequate investments in industry to promote value addition,” he said. “We cannot remain producers of primary products. I am glad with the (Southern Province) minister (Edify Hamukale) is
inviting people to come and help add value. In my country President Yoweri Museveni says by selling raw products you are forgoing some much value and here is a very good case which he teaches us in Uganda. He says the current market for coffee bean is now about US$1 to US$2 per kilogramme. He did a very good research, he went to London and he found that one calf is the same value of a coffee bean if produced into coffee…so we are exporting our wealth and giving it to other people, no wonder we are still wallowing in some kind of poverty.”
Kasaija added that President Museveni had also done research which shows that a kilogramme of Lint in Uganda costs about US$2 but can make
about five shirts each costing about $20 to $30.
He said there were about 10 bottlenecks in Africa which was not attracting investors such as high cost of energy and poor state of roads.
“They (investors) want good roads, they need cheap power, you need good road/transport systems, in short investors want minimal cost in doing business…don’t think they are coming for charity,” he said.
Kasaija called on African countries to enhance intra-trade and stop the habit of importing products which their neighbouring countries are
producing in excess such as sugar.
“Let us remove unnecessary trade barriers; the attitude of being individualistic is not good. I am telling you Africans, listen very carefully…looking at your neighbours as not your partner is not good
for us,” said Kasaija. “You will remember me. Moving forward lies in trading with each other.”