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East African military industry chiefs meet in Kampala

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The Chief Executive Officers of military industries from the East African Community partner states are meeting in Kampala to consider the progress of operationalization of the defence facilities offered for shared utilization.

They will also review the status of implementation of previous decisions and directives of the sectoral council on cooperation in defence.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting at Skyz Hotel, Kampala, the Managing Director of the National Enterprise Corporation, Lieutenant General James Mugira, reiterated the importance of defence industries, which he said serve as crucial strategic facilities that ensure self-reliance and sustainable capabilities for supplying the armed forces during combat operations, thereby playing a vital role in supporting a country’s national defence.

“Uganda, as a country, we appreciate the strategic significance of local defence industries capabilities because countries need such capacity for self-reliance, especially in terms of equipment, to minimise reliance on foreign countries for resupply during wartime. The need for self-reliance by the African Armed Forces because of our history and the changing global environment cannot be overemphasised. You cannot talk of Sovereignty as a country when you depend on products and services from foreign countries for your national defence,” said Lt Gen Mugira.

“I am therefore happy that as a region, through this forum, you are not only attaching a lot of importance to the development of local defence industries but also putting at each others’ disposal facilities for joint utilisation.”

He observed that defence is a complex and challenging sector due to increasing and sophisticated developments in science and technology, and therefore, defence industries need to place strategic significance on research and development, which involves acquiring and upgrading high-technology weapons, as well as technical expertise.

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“As EAC, we need to work together on this. Our countries must conduct joint research and development and utilise science and technology to build a strong industrial base and capabilities to respond to current and future security threats. By so doing, our countries shall be gradually enabled to be somehow independent in science and technology,” said Lt Gen Mugira.

He challenged EAC partner states to utilise the limited resources amongst themselves and whatever services available in the region instead of incurring heavy expenses outsourcing the same services and products from abroad.

“For example, here in Uganda, we have built some capacity to maintain, repair and overhaul military helicopters; why would EAC countries not utilise that capacity instead of taking their helicopters abroad?” Lt Gen Mugira said.

The meeting attracted defence liaison officers and Chief Executive Officers of military industrial facilities from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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