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Stop Wasting Resources on The Military-Jeffery Sachs :: Uganda Radionetwork

Stop Wasting Resources on The Military-Jeffery Sachs

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He is of the view that money spent on war should be going to education, transport infrastructure, and the protection of natural capital among others.
Professor, Jeffrey Sachs, the American economist and public policy analyst says between two to three trillion dollars are being wasted on wars annually . He was addressing a dialogue at Makerere Univeristy.

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American Economist and Public Policy Analyst Prof. JeffreySachs has urged world leaders to stop wasting resources on the military. 

Sachs is of the view that money spent on war should be going to education, transport infrastructure, and the protection of natural capital among others. He also believes that there are ample resources around the world that can be used to achieve all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals if they were not wasted in wars.

“I don't know what is going on in the heads of world leaders. Especially in the so-called Western world. That they somehow forgot about diplomacy and negotiation” he said.

JeffreySachs was at Makerere University to deliver a keynote address at a High-Level Dialogue on the theme “Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals through Leveraging Innovative Financing, the Parish Development Model, and Science and Technology”

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The dialogue hosted by the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) in Uganda, the National Planning Authority, and Makerere University was opened by Prime Minister, Robina Nabanja. 

He noted that wars like the one in Ukraine could have ended if President Biden and Putin of Russia engaged in dialogue. “Every day I offer the White-house my Zoom account. If they want to make a Zoom call to President Putin. They can borrow my phone but they don’t do it. They don’t talk to each other” he said.

JeffreySachs suggested the first thing for dialogue is for the warring parties to put down their guns and start talking rather than fighting. He estimates that a country like the United States of America is spending more than $1.5 trillion on the military this year.  “That is a tremendous loss it could have been devoted to sustainable development.

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Sachs, who served as the Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network said poverty would have been ended by 2025 but it won't because the world was diverted by a lot of wars. He estimates that between USD 2-3 trillion are being spent directly on military outlets annually as war rages on.

"I’m a little annoyed because I said in a book in 2005, that extreme poverty could be ended by 2025. The Presidents in my country did not read the book well enough. They are so interested in wars, not so much interested in peace and development”

Away from the wars and their impact on development, Professor Sachs said he was optimistic that Uganda and Africa would outlive the existing challenges and grow.

“I do believe that the next 40 years will be a remarkable period for Africa as we approach the 100th anniversary of the African Union. It's very important that these 40 years is a period of success and tremendous achievements, especially the SDGS,” said Prof. Sachs. Africa’s growing population will, according to Sach,  be one of the drivers of development.

“There are three regions of the world that have 1.4 billion people. One is China, the second is India, the third is the African Union. China has been experiencing rapid economic development for more than 40 years now.  It is a very good example that Africa should follow” he suggested.   He is of the view that 2023-2063 is the period for Africa to take off. 

He added that a continent like Africa needs unity so that its people don’t talk about being landlocked or not landlocked adding that Uganda and Africa should follow what China did in the last 40 years if they are to achieve sustainable development.

He highlighted the need for countries to invest in education as a priority. “Nothing comes close to the value of education in raising GDP Per Capita. China made sure that every child was in school. So the massive expansion of educational opportunities was the most fundamental transformation that China made” said Sachs who further urged countries to equally focus on investment in infrastructure like roads, and fast railway systems.

“The country transformed itself physically in 40 years to a completely interconnected national economy” For Uganda, Sachs suggests that the investments that are needed should be from the Parish level, sub-county level, national level, and regional level as part of the East African Community protocol.

“The East African community needs to be real. Not just the name, not just the anthem, not just an office in Arusha,” he cautioned. 

Turning to the Parish Development model of cash transfer being implemented across the country, Sachs the transfers can be viewed as the last mile.  “But you need to ensure that in every parish, in every sub-county, there are good schools, there are good clinics, there is a referral centre for health and there is physical connectivity for digital” Sachs suggested.