Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga welcomed delegates to the 6th UK Trade Convention and thanked the organisers headed by Mr. Willy Mutenza for annually organising this convention with the aim of promoting our Country Uganda not only to the British people but to the entire world. Rt Hon added that, she has come to learn from the last UNAA convention which took place last weekend that Uganda needs to be marketed as much as possible since some people around the world still associate Uganda with the era of Idi Amin and don’t know about its current potential in trade and tourism. It’s for this reason that she appreciated the organisers for coming up with the theme of “Why Invest in Uganda now”
Rt Hon added, unlike in the past, the investment climate in Uganda is thriving with more domestic and foreign investments generated than ever before. The Government has adopted and implemented sound macroeconomic and legal framework to promote investments, such frameworks include; liberation of the economy (exchange rate, prices and interest rates, current and capital accounts); privatization (replacing state monopolies with free markets); incentive regimes for investors in key sectors; abolition of export taxes; investment guarantees; externalization of funds; and establishment of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) as One Stop Centre for investor services. In addition, the Government embarked on infrastructure developments such as contribution of roads, hydroelectric power stations, and railway lines among others. These are all aimed to promote domestic and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the country.
Rt Hon said, in the recent years, Uganda has been voted as the leading investment destination within the East African region by various agencies. For instance, the World Investment Report 2013 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), indicated that Uganda received the most Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2012 particularly in the oil, gas, and mining sectors. However, the World Bank Report on Doing Business ranked Uganda 150th out of 189 countries in ease of doing business.
Uganda has continued to be an attractive destination for investments. By 2014/15 projects totalling to 327 had been licensed, planned investment totalled USD 1,407 million and 44,763 jobs were planned. For the Ugandans in the diaspora, Uganda remains an attractive investment location in Africa for the following reasons: –
- First and foremost, there is a stable socio-political environment conducive for investment. Government has tried to extend the stability to our neighbouring brothers and sisters like South Sudan.
- Parliament has passed enabling new laws i.e. oil laws that have introduced local content which benefits community development.
- A fully liberalized economy; this was enhanced with the passing of the Public Private Partnership Act.
- An abundant natural resource base; Uganda has a young, energetic, educated, skilled and trainable population which can offer any form of labour required.
- Constant improvement of social and economic infrastructures; Electricity is not a problem anymore, the new dams have done a tremendous job in eliminating load shedding, roads have been constructed to the various borders; one stop centres like Mutuka to Tanzania and the one for Katuna is under construction. The One Stop Centres (OSC) offer services for business registration, licensing, immigration, facilitation and aftercare in one building or place. Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is at the forefront of this initiative, for details you can go to their website. It works with other Government departments and agencies which include:
Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) for company registration;
- Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for tax advice and registration;
- The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration; Control for issuance of work permits and other immigration documents;
- The Lands Registry, which assists in the verification of land ownership;
- The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to facilitate the investor to environmental compliance; and
- Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) for standards advice.
- Strategic location at the heart of Africa that guarantees ready access to regional markets;
- Effective macro-economic policies that maintained economic growth at an average of 6.5 percent for the last decade and enabled the country to withstand external economic shocks during the global economic downturn from 2008 to 2011 during which the economy still grew by 3 percent;
- Dedicated Commercial and Industrial courts for quick resolution of business disputes;
- A member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a region with a market of about 400 million people in 19 countries;
- A member of the East African Community (EAC) with a population of over 140 million people;
- Uganda is part of the Free Trade Area of EAC, COMESA and SADC; and
- A population of 35 million people with a growing middle income class with reasonable expendable income;
Some of the direct measures government of Uganda has undertaken to improve the investment climate include;
- Recognition of innovation and technology as an important segment in the development chain, through the establishment of an independent Ministry of Science and Innovation to address innovation issues.
- Tax incentives to categorized investors; more information is available with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Uganda Investment Authority. Some of Tax incentives include; tax holidays on exportation of finished consumer & capital goods for a period of ten Years; Automobiles, mini-buses, construction & earth moving equipment – 35 percent; Expenditure on training of employees and scientific research – 100 percent; among others.
- As a Parliament, we have also done our best to set up an enabling legal and institutional framework for ease of investment in Uganda. We have the Uganda Investment Authority Act in Uganda whose mandate is to promote and facilitate Investment into the country. As well as advise Government of Uganda on various policies affecting the investment climate in Uganda.
- Uganda has improved its rankings in other areas of governance such as rule of law, regulatory quality and government effectiveness.
Opportunities for employment of citizens in diaspora
Rt Hon disclosed that professionals are needed back home; Doctors, nurses, health professionals, engineers etc. The Parliament, has been pushing for better remuneration of our professionals – especially teachers and health practitioners. She called upon nationals who are professionals to return home and contribute towards quality service delivery because the working conditions are improving. She appealed to doctors to come back home and start saving the lives of your fellow Ugandans. Uganda must stop exporting health workers while thousands of Ugandans are dying daily and work toward retention of these very key professionals, she added.
Existing Investment opportunities in Uganda for Uganda’s Diaspora
Agriculture / Agribusiness
Uganda is among the leading producers of coffee, bananas and oil seed crops (sesame (simsim), soybean, sunflower, etc). It is also a major producer of other crops like tea, cotton organic cotton, tobacco, cereals, fresh fruit & vegetables and nuts, essential oils, flowers, poultry and fresh water fish.
Opportunities for investment exist in;
- Commercial farming in crops and animal industries, as well as aquaculture, Value addition (Agro-industries -Agro-food industries),
- Manufacturing of inputs (fertilizers, pesticides etc), Cold storage facilities and logistics, Farm Machinery manufacturing and assembly, Packaging, and Irrigation Schemes.
The distinctive attraction of Uganda as a tourist destination arises from the variety of its game stock (Including the rare tree climbing lions of Ishasha White Rhinoceros, Gorillas, elephants and its unspoiled scenic beauty including forests hills and Mountain Rivers and lakes. 51% of the world’s population of mountain gorillas lives in Uganda.
Uganda is home to 11% of the world’s bird’s species (a total of 1060 bird species), which offers a wide range of bird species.
The opportunities in tourism range from constructing high quality accommodation facilities, operating tours and travel circuits (bicycle tours, air balloon travel, marine – Lake Victoria and river rafting on the River Nile) to the development of specialized eco and community tourism systems, as well as faith based tourism (pilgrimage to Namugongo – Uganda Martyrs, Mahatma Gandhi Statute and Bishop Hannington landing site on the Nile River); Tour operations; Water sports and related activities; and National park concessions.
Over 80 percent of the country has been surveyed for mineral quantities and locations. New geo-data shows that Uganda has large under-exploited mineral deposits of gold, oil, high grade tin, tungsten/wolfram, salt, beryllium, cobalt, kaolin, iron-ore, glass sand, vermiculite, phosphates agricultural fertilizer), Uranium and rare earth elements.
There are also significant quantities of clay and gypsum. Gold occurs in many areas of the country, including Busia in the east, Buhweju and Kigezi in the west, Mubende – Kiboga in the central region and significant occurrences in Karamoja in the northeast.
Investment opportunities exist in mining and mineral processing. Uganda provides special incentives to the mining sector with some capital expenditures being written off in full.
Oil and Gas
A discovery of extractable quantities of oil and gas in the Lake Albert region has enhanced the sector’s contribution to the country’s economic development. Investment opportunities are available in middle and down streams in the Sector.
Numerous Investment Opportunities exist in the local, Regional and International markets .The largest of the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabling Services Industry opportunities are within Agriculture, Health, Tourism, Banks insurance and public administration. Domestic opportunities have been identified in the areas of;
- Digitalization of services,
- Healthcare services for the ageing,
- Productivity Solutions,
- Web applications,
- Software Development,
- Ware housing, and
- Network Integrations.
Investment opportunities exist in Uganda for setting up Public and independent private universities, branch universities and offshore campuses. Other areas of investment include technical & vocational training, distance learning and student financing. Research centers in tropical medicine and medical tourism.
Investment opportunities exist in Uganda in health management, human resource training e-health solutions and logistics, tertiary care services early detection, treatment, medical tourism and manufacturing of affordable equipment and other centres of excellence provide more investment opportunities centres of excellence provide more investment opportunities.
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Uganda’s manufacturing sector presents various opportunities in virtually all areas ranging from beverages, leather, tobacco based processing, paper, textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, fabrication, ceramics, glass, fertilizers, plastic/PVC, assembly of electronic goods, hi-tech and medical products.
Energy sector has the following investment opportunities:
- Clean Development mechanism;
- Development of hydro sites for electricity generation eg. Musizi (10MW), Bogoye (7.5MW), Nengo Bridge (10MW), Songahi A (2.7MW), Songahi B (3.3MW), etc;
- Development of solar energy;
- Development of wind and geothermal energy; and
- Rural electrification.
Investing in education projects (vocal training, secondary and tertiary);
Specialized facilities eg hospitals; and
Establishing financial intermediaries.
- Need to develop Exchange programs where Ugandans in the Country go to different Countries to benchmark good digital innovation and technology practices.
- Develop a technology system or portal which will enable entrepreneurs to connect with service providers like hospitals and schools so that they can develop and put into production relevant and appropriate solutions.
- Ugandans in the diaspora with innovation ideas and capital should partner with fellow Ugandans at home who have the resources like labour and land to exploit.
- To enable more effective and innovative exploitation of Uganda’s Oil resources, Uganda Universities should be supported by their counterparts in the Diaspora in the areas of research and development.
- There is a need to develop financial literacy among Uganda’s rural population to better manage and use banking and financial services.
- There is a great need to brand and promote what Uganda has to offer in terms of Tourism and trade. Ugandans in the Diaspora should work hand in hand with the Uganda Embassy in promoting trade and tourism industries.
- There is need for Ugandans in the diaspora to visit Uganda and carry out impact assessments of the trade and investment climate.
- There is a need to establish a robust communication channel to enable information exchange and collaboration between the Uganda Government, Ugandan Enterprises and Ugandans in the diaspora.