Friday February 8 2013

Russia targets Uganda as big market for weapons


Russia considers Uganda one of the most promising new markets for exporting weapons after losing big clients in Asia and North Africa due to growing instabilities.
A Russian newspaper, The Moscow Times, quoted the head of Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin, on Tuesday, saying the Moscow regime would compensate for the lost weapons markets by building new ones in Uganda, Peru, Ghana, Mali and Oman.
The news comes a little less than three months after President Yoweri Museveni visited Moscow and discussed arms sales with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but UPDF spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye, said Uganda is not a new market for Russian weapons. “We have been buying Russian weapons as long as I can remember,” he said. “Even those Sukhoi jets we bought were from Russia. The tanks we have are from Russia.”
He said the Russian weapons are cheaper and therefore “price friendly” for developing countries like Uganda.
In 2011, Uganda bought six fighter jets from Russia that were valued at 740 million U.S. dollars (1.8 trillion shillings). Many Ugandans found the deal controversial as much of the population receives poor access to social services like health care and education.
Russia used to sell big catchments of weapons to Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and Tunisia but political turmoil and wars in the Middle East and Maghreb region have negatively affected trade.
Russia's overseas arms sales exceeded $14 billion in 2012, making it the world's second-largest arms exporter after the United States.