President Yoweri Museveni who is in Russia to attend the Russia – Africa Summit has held talks with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the first ever summit between the Russia and African States which is being held in Sochi.
The Kremlin leader welcomed Museveni to Sochi adding that the two States (Uganda and Russia) share a common task – to develop trade and economic ties and increase mutual trade.
Putin alluded to an earlier decision to create a working group on cooperation in the mineral and raw materials sphere as part of the intergovernmental commission, adopted in October 2017 during a Russian business mission to Kampala.
An agreement was reached in April 2018 to establish Uganda’s national system for identifying, evaluating and certifying mineral fields and to further create a comprehensive analytical lab with international accreditation in cooperation with Russia.
“I believe that a good task has been set, which will create conditions to step up our work,” Putin said.
He also cited a project – a cotton processing plant (UgaRuss in Kampala) – which supplies consumer goods made in Russia, as being one of the several joint economic projects between the two countries that are already operational.
“We can also see opportunities for cooperation in construction, information technologies and cybersecurity, agriculture, medicine, pharmaceutics, telecommunications, helicopter use and maintenance, and the environment,” Putin said.
On his part, President Museveni began by applauding his Russian counterpart for convening the conference which he said was long overdue.
He said the summit will strengthen trade and bilateral relations between Africa and Russia which have historical ties.
He highlighted the support rendered by Russia to African countries while they were engaged in fighting for independence from colonial administrations.
After holding summits with countries such as India, China, Turkey and Japan, it is good that the Kremlin is has now focused on Africa, Museveni noted.
Concerning Uganda, Museveni noted defence and security as one of the areas of cooperation with Russia.
“We have been cooperating very well, we have supported our building an army by buying good Russian equipment, aircrafts, tanks, and so on,” President Museveni said.
“We want to buy more,” he added.
He however said that previously, Uganda has been paying in cash for this equipment by that this “slows down the pace”.
Instead, Museveni proposed that Russia adopts a new system where it supplies and Ugandan pays.
“That would be some sort of supply that would make us build faster, because now we pay cash, like for this Sukhoi jet, we paid cash”.
He as well revealed plans to establish in Uganda a workshop for maintenance of equipment to reduce on costs involved in moving such equipment to and from Russia.
“We want to build a workshop for maintenance, overhaul and upgrade, because we have quite a bit of Russian equipment there, and now to overhaul, we need to bring it all the way back to here and then back. Transport costs. So we want to localise the maintenance and overhaul,” Museveni said.
Museveni said in a statement that he and Putin also discussed cooperation in the areas of manufacture of human and livestock vaccines, exploring space technology, construction, cyber technology and agriculture among others.