By Taddeo Bwambale
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has assured investors in the East African region of higher returns, saying the region had dealt with major challenges to trade.
He cited opportunities through the growing COMESA/ East African Community market, with incentive to trade in over 6,500 products at zero tariff.
Museveni also cited the China-Africa trade plan through with tax waivers on 440 products and the European Union market, which has provided free access to all export commodities, except arms.
The president said similar incentives were being offered by India and Japan.
He made the remarks during a meeting with investors at the 9th Africa Investment Forum at Milimani Conference Centre in Arusha, Tanzania.
The two-day event was held under the theme, “Accelerating East African Investment and Accessing a Market for a Billion People.”
It brought together east African heads of state, government ministers and business leaders to discuss investment opportunities in the region and in the continent.
Citing development in Uganda, Museveni said the country had dealt with insecurity and initiated private sector-led growth.
He said the country was only dealing with energy shortages, according to a press statement.
Museveni said Uganda hoped to produce 17,000 megawatts of electricity from its dams in 20 years.
He said through liberalisation, investment in Africa was more profitable.
The President explained that Uganda, which was under colonial rule for 63 years, had only 28,000 telephone lines.
Museveni said the country now had 16 million lines, with MTN alone having an annual turnover of $480m.
He encouraged investors to invest in Uganda’s mineral sector, saying the country had huge deposits of phosphates for fertilizers, iron ore, gold and copper.
The leaders agreed to invest in a transport master plan to help reduce transport costs and provide market for goods within the region.
Renowned Ugandan entrepreneur James Mulwana appealed to the East African heads of state to set up a joint $100m fund through the East African Development Bank, to finance small and medium enterprises in the region.