President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda said Western companies, unlike Chinese firms, have been ‘sleeping’ and ‘reluctant’ to take up projects and investing in the African continent adding that the West ‘don't care about what potential is in Africa.’
The President then challenged Western companies to take interest in helping Africa explore its resources potential, saying the continent presented immense business opportunities. "Africa is going to be a huge power house in terms of business," said the President.
"Africa and the West share a lot of history together and there is a need for them to use these past linkages to further economic business," said the President.
The President made the remarks at State House Entebbe as he witnessed the signing of the Project Framework Agreement between the government and the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC).
While congratulating the parties to the agreement, President Museveni said the composition of the AGRC showed that Western companies were also waking up to realise Africa's potential.
The agreement, according to a statement released by the State House media team, will ensure development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the oil refinery in Hoima District, Western Uganda, where the country has 6.5 billion barrels of un-extracted crude oil.
Africa is widely endowed with natural resources that have in the recent years attracted not only Western companies but also Chinese firms. Many African countries like Ghana, Uganda and Kenya are becoming major oil producers. The oil works are being conducted by mainly Western companies like Britain’s Tullow and France’s Total.
The minerals have been a major foreign exchange earner for many countries in Africa right from the time when the colonial master arrived on the continent. Hundreds of year later, companies from the West are arriving to explore and mine minerals. These activities are improving the economic fortunes of host African countries.
And now with the invitation of African presidents like Museveni, Western companies get more energized to venture into Africa and do business with the willing governments and citizens. This will see more foreign direct investment coming into the continent – creating more jobs, infrastructure and improved standards of living.