The Embassy cerebrates 57th Independence

Thu, 11/21/2019
I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
The Deputy Chief of Protocol and all DFAT Representatives present; The Dean of Diplomatic Corps; Honourable Members of Parliament present; My Colleagues Your Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners; Fellow Ugandans, Friends of Uganda; Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all, very warmly, to the 57th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Uganda. I thank you very much for leaving your busy schedules to come and celebrate with us. But before I continue with my speech, allow me to show you a short Video Clip of what took place on October 9th, 1962, the birth of Uganda's Independence:  (3 Minute Video Clip is played)
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, that is a snap-shot of how happy Ugandans were to receive their Independence. True independence enables the benefitting nations to build self-confidence, realise their full potential and lead a life of dignity and fulfilment. Indeed, Ugandans we attained full possession of our sovereignty and embarked on the road to shape our destiny through democratic means. Unfortunately, some of our post-independence years were marred by Civil Strife due to tyrannical rulers like Idi Amin, thus greatly retarding the growth and development of the country, up until 1986 when the National Resistance Movement Government came into power, and brought sanity to the country. 
The good news, friends, is that Uganda has completely recovered from its past problems, thanks to the Visionary Leadership of our President, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Musveni, his NRM Government,  together with the support of Friendly countries and the commitment of peace-loving Ugandans. Currently, the Economic and Political situation in Uganda is very stable. The country is one of the fastest growing economies on the African Continent, growing at an annual average rate of 6% for the last 2 decades, which is quite healthy.  
The Theme of this year's Independence Celebrations is; "Consolidation of National Unity, Security, Freedom and Prosperity". This Theme is in line with our National VISION of transforming the Ugandan society from Poverty and Peasantry to Prosperity and mid-upper income by 2040 or earlier. 
There are significant Achievements in several sectors of the economy since the NRM Government came into power. Life expectancy has increased from 43 years in 1986 to the current 65 years. With Universal free Primary and Secondary Education, significantly more children are going to school now and the Literacy rate has increased from 45% in 1986 to the current 75%. Security of both Life and Property is high in Uganda - in fact, we are helping our neighbours with their Security and Peacekeeping issues. Our Refugee Policies are among the friendliest in the World. 
At the end of last month, Uganda hosted the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, one of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians. Several MPs from Australia attended, led by the Speaker of Senate and some of those who attended are here with us and report that it was excellent.
Outside Uganda, the Government has negotiated and arranged with other African countries to ensure Market Integration of Africa through organizations such as EAC, COMESA, Africa Continental Free Trade Area, allowing for greater movement of people & absorption of goods & services. 
As a Mission, we are required to promote Commercial and Economic Diplomacy in our countries of Accreditation and this means promoting and marketing our country in terms of Trade, Investment, Tourism, Knowledge and Technology Transfer. The Key areas of investment include: Mining, Oil and Gas, Agriculture Value Addition, ICT, Health and Education. We strongly believe that the best way to get out of Poverty is through Trade and Investment with like minded Partners. 
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Uganda's Diplomatic Relations with Austria are Cordial and continue to grow, built on our shared Commonwealth Values. Uganda opened its first Diplomatic Mission in Canberra in 1980 but because of the Political & Economic problems we were facing, the Embassy was closed after 5 years. The Embassy was re-opened in 2004. My Mission is working with the Australian Government to ensure that cooperation in the afore-mentioned areas is fostered. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the cooperation I am getting from the Australian Government through DFAT and other Government Departments and the  Business community.
Finally, it would be re-miss of me if I ended my Speech without informing you that Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, is one of the most beautiful countries on the African Continent and hence I invite you all to come and visit. People often ask why Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa - the reason is one of our first very important International Tourists - the Great Sir Winston Churchill of United Kingdom who visited Africa in the early 1900 and was so mesmerised by Uganda that he devoted a big section in his book entitled "My African Journey", on the wonders and beauty of Uganda. I will read you a small exert: For Magnificence, for Variety of Form and Colour, for Profusion of Brilliance....
Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa. Blessed by Nature, The Pearl of Africa continues to shine brighter and brighter every day. 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you once again for coming to celebrate with us. I thank the Royal Military College Band for playing the National Anthems for us. I thank the Ugandans in the ACT Diaspora or joining us and special thanks to the Diaspora of NSW for coming all the way from Sydney. I thank my staff for organising this function.