Kampala- An international scholar in development economics has advised policy makers in Uganda to have ambitious and realistic economic policies in place to help the country achieve long term economic development.
Delivering the 25th edition of the Joseph Mubiru Memorial Lecture in Kampala last week, Dr Ha-Joon Chang, an international scholar at the University of Cambridge, said: “In devising their development strategies, developing countries need to be ambitious in terms of their final goals.”
“Being ambitious, however, does not mean being megalomaniac. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve in the short to medium-run. You also need to be very pragmatic about the policy tools you use. Being pragmatic does not mean being dull and boring,” he added.
The lecture was held under the themed ‘Ambition, Pragmatism, and Imagination rethinking the Role of the State in Economic Development’.
Dr Chang said ambitions and realistic policy choice is an effective tool which can drive the country’s development programmes and it enables the country to achieve its desired goal of development.
He said countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), and a few other Southeast Asian economies have achieved success with state intervention in promoting industrial and technological development and they have so realized their goal of economic development.
On areas where a developing country like Uganda should concentrate in her pursuit to economic development, Dr Chang said manufacturing is one of the most important sectors the country should go into it.
Govt role in development
In a speech read for him by Tourism minister Ephraim Kamuntu, President Museveni, said: “When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) came into government in January 1986, we kick started an economic reform programme that among other aspects, involved giving autonomy to the Central Bank to formulate and implement monetary policy without interference from anybody; undertook privatisation and liberalisation of government parastatals; as well as opening up the current and capital accounts.”
“In addition, we reformed the courts of law including commercial courts as well as land registry. Through these efforts, Uganda has moved from being a backward economy towards the threshold of middle income status by 2020,” he added.