Visiting EAC CEOs and other delegates during the tour. Courtesy photo of UPDF.

Minister Oboth calls for regional collaboration in the EAC defence industries 

(Last Updated On: 4 April 2024)

Kampala | Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Jacob M. Oboth on Thursday presided over the closure of the 3-day East Africa Community (EAC) meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of military-industrial facilities in Kampala. 

Oboth urged the CEOs to harness their respective countries’ comparative advantages and cultivate interdependence instead of competing.

“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 Oboth.

Oboth, who assumed his new role as senior minister of defence recently, emphasised the crucial role played by defence industries globally in various sectors such as defence, security, and economic development, advising that East Africa should not lag 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,” Oboth added.

Although the region has abundant resources, he said it still faces the challenge of acquiring raw materials for military production and promised to follow up on the issue.

“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.”

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The chairperson of the meeting and the Director General of the Defence National Security Industries in Kenya, Major General Bernard Waliaula, said the meeting was fruitful.

Member states who gave presentations on the progress of establishing defence industries in their respective countries and their 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.

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The General Manager of Luwero Industries Limited, Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi, expressed gratitude to the visiting CEOs and delegates for attending the meeting.

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 Chief Executive Officers of ‘military-industrial facilities availed for shared utilisation’.

The meeting is held annually in different East African Community countries.

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