– How is UK maintaining its status as a global FinTech hub as well as promoting expansion around the world?
– How Ugandan businesses expand into UK?
At the 9th Uganda-UK Trade & Investment Convention – FRIDAY, 13TH SEPTEMBER 2019 – London Hilton on Park Lane 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE | Main theme: “UNLOCKING UGANDA’S INVESTMENT POTENTIAL” | Sub theme: “Fintech – Unlocking Uganda’s Potential”
Having welcomed his Excellency, the Honourable Ministers, and all the distinguished guests, the Prime minister of the UK trade envoy to Uganda Lord Popat expressed his gratitude to once again be addressing the UK-Uganda convention. Drawing from his remarks he said “For nearly a decade, this event has gone from strength to strength, fostering stronger relations between our two nations”.
This year we were joined by the Vice President of Uganda, His Excellency Edward Sekandi, who he has had the honour of working with on a number of occasions. Also, joined by Hon Irene Muloni, minister of energy and Hon. Betty Kamya, minister for Kampala Capital City Authority. He noted his presence as a sign of how important this convention is to all Ugandans and their counter parts in the UK.
He welcomed all the business leaders, CEOs, civil servants and in mention, the Vice President of the London Chamber of Commerce Subhash Thakkar. “Thank you all for coming and for helping to build a new generation of ties between the UK and Uganda’’.
He talked about the unique advantage point when it comes to UK-Uganda relations. His Excellency, UK and Uganda may be geographically separated by many thousands of miles, but they are brought together by their shared history, synergy and membership of the Commonwealth. His colleague in the House of Lords, Lord Howell, always said that America are our allies, Europe our neighbours, and the Commonwealth our family.
Lord Popat was born in Uganda before coming to Britain as a seventeen-year-old. Life has now brought him to full circle, having been a Minister for both Business and Transport and now serving as the Prime Minister of Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda. This has allowed him share the many skills he has learnt both in business and politics, with love for Uganda. This was expressed in his words
‘’you can take the boy out of Uganda but you can’t take Uganda out of the boy”.
But, to his eternal regret, Britain has spent several decades focusing on its neighbours and neglecting their Commonwealth family. Our membership of the European Union brought with it many benefits, but there were also costs, to closer relations with certain nations and one of them was Uganda in particular.
Last year he hosted lunch for President Museveni in the House of Lords, so that he could meet and speak with British businesses interested in investing in Uganda. He was asked about the presence of so many Chinese-backed projects in Uganda, and he gave the sort of withering answer that only the best politicians can do.
He told us that he loves Britain. That there is huge demand for British goods and services in Uganda, and a great affection for the UK. But then he followed up with ‘but we never see you there’. He went on to say that “when I need hospitals and roads built, and the Chinese are there to build them, who else can I turn to? I don’t speak Chinese, I speak English, but my people need new roads and hospitals”
That is the challenge that faces all of us in this room. He took the President’s words to heart, and they give him all the motivation he needs when he’s undertaking his Trade Envoy duties. He is right; Britain needs to be more outward-looking, more conscientious of our relationships with our Commonwealth family, and better-attuned to the amazing economic advancements across Africa.
Your Excellency the Vice President, not long ago our trade with Africa was 30%. It is now less than 4%. We need a fresh approach to Africa, particularly those countries that are part of the Commonwealth that builds on the deep and historical links we have with the continent and the affection many Africans have for Britain.
He stated, our Prime Minister is holding the UK-Africa Investment Summit here in London on 20th January, where we have invited all African Heads of States. This summit will bring together UK and African Governments, alongside major international investors, to grow awareness of investment opportunities on the continent. President Museveni has verbally confirmed that he will be attending with the focus being on Agri-tech, fin-tech, manufacturing and financial services. On financial services we are number one in the world. Many years ago we had a branch of Uganda in the UK –he would like to see them come back and have a branch in London.
More at http://.www.ugandanconventionuk.org