Uganda’s heads of foreign missions have been urged to market the country as an investment destination. They have also been asked to help the private sector to establish joint partnerships with foreign companies.
Charles Omusana, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) director for small-and-medium scale enterprises, (SMEs) asked the envoys to share information with UIA in order to facilitate joint ventures.
He was presenting a paper on the role of SMEs in promoting development in Uganda. This was during the annual meeting of Ugandan heads of foreign missions that included ambassadors and high commissioners at the foreign affairs ministry boardroom.
The meeting was organised to refocus the foreign affair ministry’s priorities to address challenges and opportunities of the dynamic regional and international environment.
Omusana said there were over 800,000 SMEs in Uganda, which were mainly family-owned businesses, providing employment to about two million Ugandans.
He said about 90% of non-formal employment was with SMEs, which also contribute to about 20% of Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Juma Kisaame, the dfcu Bank managing director, said SMEs fight poverty by employing poor and low income workers.
“However, they have a short lifespan and do not go beyond five years of existence,” he observed. The ministry’s permanent secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, said a diaspora department had been created in the ministry.
He explained that the department had developed a roadmap to engage with Ugandans in the diaspora, as well as to lobby for the protection of the rights of Ugandans living abroad.
Sam Kutesa, the foreign affairs minister, revealed that the ministry would establish an institute to train foreign service officers.