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Museveni rallies EU businesses to invest in Uganda, cites incentives, ready market and security

President Museveni with Board members of the Private Sector Foundation and the new Head of the EU Delegation to Uganda

President Museveni with Board members of the Private Sector Foundation and the new Head of the EU Delegation to Uganda (PHOTO/PPU)

KAMPALA —President Museveni has elaborated the investment opportunities available in Uganda, listing openings in agro-processing, manufacturing, minerals, tourism, Value Addition and the services sectors.

The President was speaking at the opening of the 2nd Uganda-EU Business Forum at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, where he called upon European businesses to take advantage of Uganda’s profitability to invest in Agriculture and Value Addition.

The forum was organised by Sustainable Business For Uganda (SB4U), a fruit of a partnership between the EU, the Government of Uganda (GoU), and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), funded by the EU.

“Our assurance is that the market is ready and with the East African Integration, even bigger,” Mr. Museveni said, adding that:

“I have been commissioning different factories, and Chinese and Indians are investing here, how come the Europeans with whom we share a similar language (English) are not doing the same? Uganda is Profitable, Peaceful and Pleasant and so ready for business,” he said.

In the agricultural sector, Museveni has asked the investors to consider tapping chances in juice processing, starch from maize and cassava for medical products, tea and coffee processing, fish and animal products, dairy products among others.

Uganda already produces 10 million metric tones of bananas, 5 million tones of maize, 2.5 billion litres of milk, said the President, who pointed out that production could actually go up with more investment and efficient technologies.

President said Uganda is endowed with minerals that investors could take advantage of.

The minerals include iron ore, phosphates, tin, coltan, uranium, vermiculite, aluminium, limestone among others.

President Museveni and Minister of State for Investment Evelyn Anite

Explaining how the establishment of a ceramics tiles manufacturing companies in Buikwe and Kapeeka had greatly stemmed the importation of tiles, President Museveni said immense opportunities existed in Uganda.

“We are making the tiles in Uganda and saving $40 million per year. Yet the tiles are of good quality, cheaper and now being sold across the region,” he said.

Besides agriculture and minerals, President Museveni said the other investment base was tourism, given Uganda’s perfect all-year round weather, two rainy seasons, a temperature avaraging 18-28 degrees, among other attributes.

“Uganda is welcoming you to invest and do business. You’ll be offered incentives like Ugandans. We believe in indirect taxation. All we want is for you to contribute to our GDP by locating your production and service provision here,” he added.

Ready market

He challenged the EU investors to find proper spectacles to help them see opportunities, just like the Chinese and Indians were doing.

“You should take the advantage of the natural resources we have and market to set up shop in Uganda.

“Our assurance is that the market is ready and with the East African Integration, even bigger,” he said.

We negotiated for COMESA, AfCFTA, AGOA and others. In the next 30 years, the population of Africa will be 2.5 billion people,” he said.

The market, elucidated the President, included the 45 million Ugandans and the 400 million East Africans plus the 530 million people that make up the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA).

The other markets, the President revealed, include over 6,500 products allowed into the American Market under no tariff plus 440 products allowed into the Chinese Market without taxation.

Singling out textiles, the President said the USA places about 35% tax on textiles from external markets, which means those originating from Uganda already have that cost advantage since they are tax-free.

 

Infrastructure advantage

The President pointed out that Uganda’s economy had been steadily recovering and growing since 1986, with now 5,900 factories setting up base in the country.

This, he said was because besides guaranteeing peace and stability, government had overseen the establishment of critical infrastructure like roads, dams and skilling the labour force.

“Uganda has good roads now. You can move from one border of the country to another on smooth, first class tarmac, across the six points of the compass,” he said.

About energy, President Museveni said the target was to ensure manufacturers buy each unit of electricity at 5 US cents, down from the current 8 US cents, which had also come down from 10 cents.

Transport challenges were being resolved too, with the main challenge currently being the cost of money.

This year’s hybrid Business Forum – themed “Mobilizing quality investments and boosting trade between Uganda and the European Union” focuses on exploring a renewed commitment by both public and private sector stakeholders to building stronger Uganda – European Union business, investment, and trade ties as we emerge from unprecedented health and economic challenges.

The two-day High-Level Business Forum, also provides a unique platform —bringing together Ugandan and European policymakers, public sector agencies, EU Member States embassies and consulates, private sector trade support institutions, business associations and Chambers of Commerce, captains of industries, financial and non-financial intermediaries, investors, development partners and donor agencies, academia and the civil society to network exchange experiences and explore win-win investment and trade opportunities.

The Head of European Delegation in Uganda, Jan Sadek

The Head of European Delegation in Uganda, Jan Sadek lauded the EU-Uganda business forum, staying, “this kind of initiative is key to mobilise higher levels of private investments and to create new business opportunities in priority sectors in Uganda.

“We have a key role to play to enable European investors to have a deeper understanding of the business environment and investment climate prevailing in Uganda,” he said, adding,

“The message we are conveying to European companies and investors is: “Come to Uganda seize the opportunities offered by the Pearl of Africa and the region. We will all benefit from those
partnerships”.

The Minister of State for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite appreciated President Museveni for creating a conducive environment that has enabled investors to set up big factories in Uganda. She said this has helped Uganda to develop economically.

She said that the country has stopped donating money to foreign countries because of Mr. Museveni’s able leadership.

The Minister of State for Investment Evelyn Anite

UIA Board Chairman Morrison Rwakakamba told European Union investors that the return on investment for investing in Uganda is one of the highest in Africa.

“Our President, has diligently and tirelessly worked to ensure that in Uganda, businesses not only survive but thrive,” he said.

Rwakakamba said the forum also sought showcase of at least 50 bankable projects from Ugandan private sector and a dozen high-ticket public projects.

Some of the directors of the PSFU board who attended include Sarah Kagingo who represents professional services, Badru Ntege (ICT), Dan Kazibwe (Creatives), Dr Julian Omalla (Skilling) and Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO.

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