The Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) is set to hold the 5th Annual Bankers’ Conference on the 25th and 26th July 2022, under the theme: Bridging financing gaps in the manufacturing, tourism and agribusiness sectors to catalyze economic recovery & growth post 2021. Are financial institutions up to this task and responsibility?
Speaking at a Press Conference held at the UBA Head Offices in Muyenga this morning, Ms Sarah Arapta, the UBA Chairperson said, “This year’s event will aim to facilitate a focused discussion between financial service providers and players in the manufacturing, tourism/hospitality and agribusiness sectors on efforts being undertaken to narrow the financing gaps constraining the growth and recovery of these critical sectors in the current and future environment.
The two-day conference will include a keynote address to be delivered by the Bank of Uganda, Afreximbank and the European Union respectively on each of the days, followed by presentations and panel discussions by technocrats from the ministries of industry & tourism respectively and related government agencies, private sector players in the manufacturing & tourism/hospitality space, development partners as well as bankers & several other players in the financial space.
Sarah Arapta, the UBA Chairperson said, the conference will specifically focus on,
- Taking stock of the financing gaps and other funding challenges therein constraining the manufacturing, tourism/hospitality & agribusiness sectors in Uganda in accessing finance and most importantly how to ready players in these sectors for different types and combinations of financing.
- How best, financial sector players and institutions can competitively and sustainably bridge the gap and make available the much-needed financing required to support both recovery & growth of the above two sectors without compromising the resilience & growth of the banking sector itself.
- Highlighting the critical roles that need to be played by other key stakeholders including the Government, regulators, legislators, development partners, sector players and private sector actors in the respective ecosystems, in this process.
Uganda’s national development plan (NDP III) highlights among others, manufacturing & tourism as key primary growth sectors that have development multiplier effects owing to their forward and backward linkages with other sectors including agriculture, and as such considered priority areas of focus.
The manufacturing sector consumes a staggering 66.7% of all the power generated, employs over 1.3 million people, contributes 15.4% to the GDP, 19 percent of the total exports to the global market and 14 percent of the tax revenue collected. Direct loan manufacturing exposure to financial institutions regulated by BOU currently stands at Ugx 2.4 trillion or 13.2 % of total loan exposure.
The hospitality and tourism sector is a major source of employment, government revenue and foreign exchange earnings in Uganda and accounts for 7.8% of GDP.
Before the virus struck, tourism was the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner raking in about $1.45bn annually. Tourist exports amounted to US$431 million in 2019, representing 6.3% of total exports.
Mr Wilbrod Owor, the Executive Director UBA, said deliberations at the conference have been broken down into four panel sessions to cover the following sub-themes.
- The multiplier role manufacturing plays in promoting the growth of SMEs, job creation, regional trade and diversification and specific efficiency & funding challenges constraining this role.
- The unexploited potential in tourism for economic growth and development of Uganda and how the financial sector can support the harnessing of this potential.
- Expectations from banking and financial service institutions in the growth & development of the two key sectors and how to ready players in the value chains therein.
- Alternative financing options including Syndications for Scale, Blended Financing, Climate Finance (Green Finance), Responsible Banking for Sustainability and what is required of financial institutions as well as beneficiary end users to leverage on.
The above key sectors & their value chains require sustainable/well structured & tailored competitive financing combined with business development services to anchor their recovery or growth as the case may be, especially after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic Mr Owor said.