(Perth, Australia NSV) - “Africa is a sleeping market, Africa is a giant there for the benefit of the whole humanity,” said the former Ugandan Vice-President Dr. Speciosa Naigaga Wandira (MD) on Thursday at a public lecture at the University of Western Australia Business School.
Dr. Wandira was speaking on the role of micro finance in ending world hunger hosted by the University of Western Australia Business School .
She said that Africa was a sleeping giant because it hasn’t yet developed technologically.
Dr. Wandira urged Africans to change the mentality which was cultivated by the colonialist.
"We in Africa continue to believe that somebody will come and do things for us, but this is made worse by the fact that large as we’re in terms of the continent and growing population, we are actually so many and we don’t have a political commitment,” she said.
“In our mentality we are still bounded by that kind of thinking" were people just rely solely on the government and wonder “when will the government actually do this, when will it make sure the internet is working?” she said.
She stressed that people should stop relying so much on the government although she recognized that “no country can rely on trade” or carry out trade without the relevant government policies to support and protect businesses.
Dr. Wandira said Africa needs a structural and political reform. She said that “there are things being done now” towards achieving reform but it was slow and people shouldn’t just wait instead they should try and become self sufficient and help build their own futures.
Tackling corruption head on
On corruption Dr. Wandira said that African governments need to tackle the problem head on and institute strong measure of accountability from the grassroots to the heads of states.
She said “power is a sweet thing, I have been there” but leaders neether people chances to lead too in order to foster a democratic culture and mentality.
After the lecture the NSV asked her about the current situation in Northern Uganda with regards to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency. She said that the situation had relatively improved especially after the initiation of the peace process between the LRA and the government of Uganda by the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan.
“Things are much better now,” she said.
“The only problem is that now they [LRA] have moved into ‘Zaire’ [DRC] and are killing people there.”
Dr. Wandira added that Southern Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are now cooperating and trying to solve the insecurity cause by the LRA in the regional border.
Asked about the disputed Island of Migingo in Lake Victoria, Dr. Wandira said that it was a small matter that will be resolved diplomatically and that people shouldn’t fear any potential war erupting between Kenya and Uganda over the territory. She urged Africans to live harmoniously, stating that “we are all one family of East Africans” and stressed that “Southern Sudan [wa]s much more closer to East Africa than north” drawing examples of Acholi, Luo, Anyuak, Taposa and Karamoja peoples who all straddle the borders of Southern Sudan between Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Dr. Wandira served her country in the role of the Vice-President from 1994 to 2003. She was the first woman to hold such position in Africa until President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia became the first elected female head of state in Africa in 2005.