Bastile Day Celebrations: France Praised for Role in Uganda’s Peace, Stability and Development

France has been praised for its key role in contributing towards Uganda’s development in various aspects including security, education and health among others.

Speaking during the Bastile Day commemoration held recently at the French Ambassador’s residence in Nakasero, Robinah Nabbanja,Uganda’s Prime Minister praised the continued cordial relations France and Uganda have enjoyed over the years,citing the good France has done to Uganda.

“France has been very instrumental and supportive towards the development of Uganda’s economy and supported in various aspects. When we needed education, France offered our students scholarships, when we needed security, France helped equip our soldiers with quality training and when we needed to develop our economy, French companies are working hard to see to it that our oil will be well extracted and processed.”

Ms. Nabbanja congratulated France on the noble Bastile Day celebrated every 14th of July to commemorate the freedom of France. She urged the two Countries to carry on the friendship and support towards one another.

Bastille Day marked the anniversary of the fall, on the 14th of July, 1789, of the Bastille in Paris. Bastille was originally built as a medieval fortress, eventually used as a State prison. The Bastille Day is significant in France’s History and beyond the storming of the Bastille marked the start of the French Revolution.

It was the starting point/beginning of the end of the Monarchy. It represented, and still represents, a call for liberty, equality and a democratic move to establish a government.

The values of liberty and equality –carried by the French Revolution of 1789 have become universal. When France celebrates the Bastille Day, its National Day, France is celebrating it in communion with all the people and every human being who share or fight for these values of Liberty, Equality and the 3rd components motto of the French Republic Fraternity.

Speaking at the Bastile Day celebrations, H.E Jules-Armand Aniambossou, Ambassador of France to Uganda cited the loyalty,friendship and togetherness Uganda and France have and all aimed at enhancing stability and growth of Africa.

“Uganda and France are two countries that are getting to know each other, and it is the story of a rapprochement that has been built on a balanced and respectful relationship. It is also a story that was built on shared and well understood interests. Our two countries have this in common: they want to contribute to the stability and growth of Africa, but above all they trust Africans to carry out this ambition.

Yes, France and Uganda have in common a Pan-Africanism of progress that wishes to place Africa in its rightful place in the world, that of a young, dynamic, enterprising and open continent. And Uganda is a key player in the process of socio-economic transformation of the continent,” said H.E Aniambossou.

According to Ambassador Aniambossou, “Building a new partnership with the African continent is in line with the vision of the Ouagadougou speech delivered by President Macron in 2017. A speech based on respect, equality and reciprocity.

This was the meaning of the message of the French Minister for Foreign Trade, Mr Franck Riester, who visited Uganda in October last year at the request of President Macron: “we have common values, we have common interests, let’s work together, our countries and our people have everything to gain.”

H.E Aniambossou also explained the meaning of the will driven by the French Presidency of the EU to transform partnerships into a new Africa-Europe alliance. This European desire for a new alliance translates the commitments of the Agenda 2030 with massive investments, particularly in health, industry, infrastructure and energy among others.

“This new partnership with Uganda is structured around the following main axes: Economy,Development, Francophonie,Health,Sports & Culture ,Value Diplomacy,Youth and Security among others. We have the ambition to found an “Africa France Entrepreneurs Community” and here in Uganda, the pool of entrepreneurs to give substance to this vision will show an interest. I encourage them to join the Kampala Business Club, to exchange with our French Trade advisors (CCEFs) so that our bilateral economic relationship strengthens and offers opportunities to all our entrepreneurs, Ugandan and French. In this context, the Embassy will continue to play its supporting role. Moreover, in order to complete the structuring of this network, I aspire to endow Uganda with a France International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a labelled tool at the service of a denser and mutually beneficial bilateral economic relationship.”

He added that, “French companies are investing in Uganda and are increasingly present. I could mention Sogea Satom’s contracts in Gulu, the launch of the Kampala Entebbe Expressway toll road by Egis, the IDF signed between the Ugandan State and TotalEnergies, and the development of Zembo fleets in Kampala. Equipe France – the companies and the Embassy – are mobilising to strengthen the presence of French companies. The assets and expertise of French companies correspond to the areas of development and the challenges that the country must face in terms of infrastructure, energy, tourism and agriculture.”

On security matters, Aniambossou highlighted the continued peace, stability and quality training offered to Uganda by the French army following the Military cooperation between France and Uganda which took off in 2007 with the engagement of the UPDF in Somalia, in the framework of AMISOM. Since then, every year, French forces stationed in Djibouti contribute to the pre-projection training of Ugandan battalions, which served within AMISOM, and now ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia). Since July 14, 2019, more than 17,000 Ugandan soldiers have benefited from this type of training.

“The French army contributes to the acquisition of military know-how in the mountainous environment of the UPDF. Since 2016, a technical military cooperant has been providing his expertise as part of the build-up of the UPDF Mountain Division. We are particularly proud of the commitment, at the end of 2021, of the UPDF Mountain Division in the east of the DRC, within the framework of operation SHUJJA, the objective of which is the stabilization of this area, which has been in crisis for too many years.

We also contribute to the training of officers and non-commissioned officers in France and in the military schools we support in Africa. Peace, stability and security are regional issues – which therefore call for frank and strong regional cooperation.”

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