It has been said and written and subsequently confirmed during a recent mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in January and February 2010 that the colonization, impoverishment and neo-colonization of Africa began in DRC initially through instability, disruption of economic systems, trade networks, social, cultural and political institutions, ruthless and massive exploitation of human and natural resources. Ipso facto, Africa will not stabilize and develop peacefully and sustainably while DRC remain mired in neo-colonial conditions of exploitation and destabilization by foreign interests and their neighboring and Congolese surrogates.
Before the arrival of Europeans and Arabs in the 16th and 19th centuries respectively, the Congo basin was occupied by Bantu people who had developed strong kingdoms that were engaged in production of a wide variety of agricultural, pastoral and industrial products the surplus of which were exchanged in local and regional markets. They had also as noted above developed strong and viable cultural and social systems that together with adequate and balanced diets promoted rapid and healthy population growth.
When our country became a protectorate in 1894 it was occupied by two major ethnic groups – Bantu and Nilotic people in a territory situated at the centre of Africa, the source of the Nile and in a region immensely endowed with human and non-human resources.
Foreign visitors to the region before and after Uganda became a protectorate, were impressed by the abundance and variety of foodstuffs, manufacturing industries and resilient, innovative and industrious people never seen anywhere on the African continent. Winston Churchill advised all foreign visitors to Africa not to skip Uganda.
Notwithstanding, on the eve of the second decade of the 21st century, Uganda cannot feed, clothe and shelter her people adequately. The September 2009 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) observes that Uganda has entered the fourth successive poor harvest. This is a man-made problem due mainly to poor ecological policies. In 2005 Uganda was categorized in a UN report as a hunger ‘hot spot’ country needing food assistance.
The once vibrant manufacturing sector is all but gone in the name of comparative advantage that has consigned Uganda to the agrarian status.