2022 Summit’s | Chairman’s Overview and Remarks
I take great pleasure in thanking all those who spared their valuable time to attend the 12th Uganda-UK convention, despite all the difficult circumstances following the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, unfortunately, in line with UK Government mourning guidance for civil servants, both Uganda and UK government officials would not participate at the event.
Despite all that, the organising committee decided to continue with the event and I also thank those that couldn’t make it, for the tremendous support everyone gave, even in their absence.
We are happy that the annual event has grown from strength to strength, now becoming the only African focused trade and investment summit running for 12 consecutive years. He echoed and urged Ugandans to emulate his spirit of patriotism and invest not only time but also money for the good cause of giving back to Uganda. “We can’t wait for governments to put money in everything we do, their blessing and participation is enough”.
As the founder and chairman, I have received many accolades, awards and recognitions because of the convention and my work in the community and I was this year happy to be recognized by Director Citizenship & Immigration Control, presented to me by Maj. Gen. Apollo Kasiita-Gowa. It was the UK Convention with Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga that started lobbying the government via the parliament for the Dual Citizenship and a few other policies that impact Ugandans in the Diaspora. The government agreed not only for the dual-citizenship but also for the Directorate of Citizenship & Immigration Control to designate a staff at various major embassies and commissions.
This year, I also joined fellow Ugandan Asian brothers and sisters at a reception hosted by His Majesty, King Charles III at Buckingham Palace, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Resettlement of British Asians from Uganda in the United Kingdom.
- “Look at London as not just a marketplace for the UK, you should look at London as a place with which you can reach the rest of the world.”
- “The power of the diaspora is not just about inverted commas, “Returning home”; it’s about staying in the wider world, and being both a representative of Uganda and an interpreter of Uganda to the rest of the world. It’s that bridging, because in the end, we’re in the 21st century business, it’s no longer about expanding into a country and taking your workforce into a country. It’s about partnering with that country. And that’s why the soft business skills and the soft education skills of Uganda are going to become more and more important, because that enables Uganda to be a partner in the world, and not a recipient of the world’s benefits.”
One of the speakers, Andrew A Blanch, MD, Alvan Blanch Development said that if we’re going to need to find opportunities for the youth in agriculture beyond cities, we need types of projects that can generate new industries in rural areas. Because the great thing about rural employment and enterprises is that they’re using local materials.
Amin Mawji OBE, Aga Khan Development Network emphasized that Ugandan diaspora real value, is not the financial capital. “The real value is in the knowledge capital. If we can get Ugandans who are outside of Uganda to bring their knowledge and their experience, that’s a huge asset that Uganda could do with. Aga Khan is building hospitals at the moment in Uganda and there is a huge shortage of high-quality medical practitioners. But we also know that some of the best medical practitioners in the world are Ugandans. If we can convince that group of people to come back to their country of birth, and work in Uganda, I tell you, it will be transformational.”