Uganda’s president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni called upon EU businesses to explore different opportunities available in Uganda and invest in them. He listed sectors like the 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.
He added that he has been commissioning different factories, and Chinese and Indians are investing in the country, further posing a question as to why, ”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,”
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.
The president further revealed that Uganda is endowed with minerals and urged investors to take up opportunities and invest in the mineral sector.
The minerals include iron ore, phosphates, tin, coltan, uranium, vermiculite, aluminium, limestone among others.
Museveni highlighted other opportunities in Uganda revealing that the establishment of a ceramics tiles manufacturing companies in Buikwe and Kapeeka has greatly stemmed the importation of tiles.
“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.
He assured the investors of the ready market already available in the country and the East African region as well.
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.
The President also 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.
The two-day High-Level Business Forum will be a unique platform that will bring 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.
This year’s hybrid Business Forum – themed “Mobilizing quality investments and boosting trade between Uganda and the European Union” will explore 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.