The vice president of Uganda H. E. Maj (RTD) Jessica Alupo on Thurday revealed that the country is the most open economy to Foreign direct investment (FDI) within the East African Community.
She pointed out that there are no restrictions on ownership of investments, movement of capital or foreign exchange.
Alupo made the the remarks while presiding over the closure of the 2nd Uganda – EU Business Forum at Speke resort hotel in Munyonyo. She revealed that the summit signifies Uganda’s commitment to private sector development and indicates the renewed focus to further increase the promotion of Uganda’s abundant investment potential. It also enhances the partnership between EU and Ugandan Business community.
Uganda and EU have enjoyed warm and cordial bilateral relations because of the historical, cultural and geographical linkages. EU is among the top sources of FDI for Uganda and a top destination for Ugandan exports. Uganda’s total trade increased from Euro 707 million in 2009 to Euro 893 million in 2019 registering a 26% growth. EU remains Uganda’s second largest market particularly for agricultural products specifically coffee that accounts for 70% of the total exports and 26% for fish.
”The Uganda Government is therefore keen to attract more investments from EU through this engagement and in return the Ugandan business community is encouraged to take advantage of this engagement to expand partnerships that enhance technology, skills, financing, standards and further deepen access to EU markets. Our philosophy is to provide a One Stop Centre to investors across all Government MDA’s, ease the business environment, and reduce the cost of doing business. This service is available at Uganda Investment Authority,” said Alupo.
She further revealed that Investing in Uganda is attractive and provides significant
benefits that include;
- Uganda has proven itself to be a highly stable country over the past 30 years: “Under H.E. President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda has experienced political stability, democratic progress and economic growth”. Uganda is fully peaceful and secure – border to border.
- Uganda is the most open economy to FDI within the EAC. There are no restrictions on ownership of investments, movement of capital or foreign exchange. According to World Bank, FDI track record shows net FDI in flows of over USD 1bn a year on average.
- Uganda has an excellent working and living environment: Rated as the 3rdmost welcoming country in the world and 4th best country in the world to visit. Uganda has excellent housing and international schools and the lowest cost of living. Uganda has the fastest growing work force in the region and flexible labour regulations, a key advantage for companies investing in labour intensive operations. Average annual growth, 2018-2022 was 3.97%. The average labour costs for unskilled and skilled production operatives in the agribusiness operation labour costs in Uganda excluding social security costs is USD 440, which is the lowest in the EAC region.
- Uganda has an access to large and growing domestic market of nearly 284 million people in EAC, COMESA 560 million and over 1.5bn in Africa.
- Uganda is open to exploring a new relationship with EU under the Economic
Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Uganda has ratified to the African Continental Free Trade Area, removing barriers to inter and intra Africa trade. This large continental market access is supported by access to external markets under special agreements with over 6000 products eligible for US markets under Africa Growth and Opportunities Act, and Quota free and tax-free access to all products into the European Union under EBA (Everything else except Arms. This is the right time for enhancing the partnership and investing in Uganda.
The vice president pointed out that the business forum will be a platform for increased business engagements and a dialogue to enhance private sector investments and businesses in Uganda. It will also be instrumental in enhancing regional development, trade, diversifying exports and integrating African economies into EU and the global market.
Álupo concluded saying, ”It is our pledge that Government through its agencies will honor our commitments made at this business forum and continue to support annual EU-Uganda business forum as a platform for Uganda and its European partners to continue pursuing their common interest and improve ways of working together.”
The two-day High-Level Business Forum was a unique platform that brought 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.