Proceedings of the 5th Uganda Convention in UK – 12th Sept 2015
The 5th Convention was graced by the Her Royal Highness Sylvia Nagginda Nnabagereka of Buganda as the guest of honour and attended by other important personalities including Lord Mohammed Sheikh, Dr. Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor (BOU), H.E. Professor Joyce Kikafunda (UK), H.E. Nimisha Madhvani (France), Doris Akol, CG-URA, H.E. Ambassador Mirjam Blaak Sow (Brussels), H.E. James WL Kinobe, (DRC), Hon Cecilia Ogwal (the Opposition Chief Whip), Jaffer Kapasi OBE, Uganda-Honorary Counsel for Leicester and East Midland, Hon. Wafula Oguttu (Leader of Opposition in Parliament) and Dr. Josephine Ojiambo (Deputy Secretary – General Commonwealth) and many others.
The chairman and founder Mr. Willy Mutenza welcomed delegates and reiterated that the aim of the Convention was not only to make a contribution to the development of Uganda, but also to support, encourage and bring together individual wealth creators, as well as those aspiring to be wealth creators who can also make a difference to the lives of others through job creation, and generally helping to increase economic activities.
He reported that in the last four years, the Convention has grown to include aspiring business leaders from other African nations. This year, a delegation from Nigeria graced the convention, led by His Excellency Chris Baywood Ibe, the Chairman of Baywood Continental Limited, one of the leading companies in oil and gas in Nigeria.
H.E. Professor Joyce Kikafunda said that in order to achieve Uganda vision 2040, support is needed from people of Uganda, Ugandans in the Diaspora and development partners in order to transform Uganda from peasantry to prosperity. She further said that Uganda’s economic growth should not depend on aid but should be achieved in partnering with the West as equal partners in development. She pointed out priority sectors such as energy, agriculture, oil and gas, infrastructure, mining and tourism. She disclosed the good news about Alvan Blanch, an agro- manufacturing company based in the UK moving in to invest in Uganda from January 2016.
Lord Mohammed Sheikh is a life member of the House of Lords and a businessman. Lord Sheikh was born in Kenya but grew up in Mbale-Uganda. Lord Sheikh has excelled in business and politics in the UK and was recently awarded a doctorate due to his humanitarian work. His main emphasis in the House of Lords and at the Convention was the importance of the United Kingdom building its bilateral trade with the African continent. He disclosed that Uganda is regarded and should be one of UK’s most important bilateral trade partners in the future. Uganda provides an enormous wealth of diverse economic opportunity, a growing market of more than 38 million people, estimated to increase to 47 million in the next ten years. He commended the government for the economic growth and for maintaining an average GDP growth of 6.5 in the last twenty years, not to mention that it is among the 10 fastest growing economies in Africa. Lord Sheikh adamantly believes that Uganda soon will be joining the 7% club of countries that are achieving an economic growth of 7%. He commended the President for bringing peace and stability to Uganda and the region which is the basis of investors to a country. He cited that UK should concentrate more on trade rather than aid, nevertheless aid and trade must go forward simultaneously.
He repeatedly stressed on the seriousness of corruption, a scourge that needs to be dealt with. He was happy to note that the Uganda government is firm on dealing with corruption.
It also must be noted that UK has the largest number of Ugandan Diaspora in Europe. He encouraged Diasporas to get more involved in business in Uganda while keeping their foothold and connection in the UK. He finally said that Uganda hasn’t lost its luster and that Uganda, as the pearl of Africa, is getting shinier and shinier!
In her speech, Her Royal Highness Sylvia Nagginda (the Nnabagereka) Queen of Buganda Kingdom said that “we have all heard and read growth statistics, which mean a lot to macro-economists and scholars but do not always help us understand whether ordinary people are actually becoming happier and more prosperous”.
She added that if growth is to be truly meaningful and sustainable, women as well as the men across all the strata of society must buy into that growth. For growth to be meaningful and sustainable, all people must feel that the growth brings them a direct benefit in the form of prosperity.
If the growth statistics fail to reflect the reality of ordinary people – by not demonstrating how this growth translates into prosperity in their daily lives, then this is especially the case for women.
Growth statistics mask the fact that women, living in a predominantly patriarchal society, are disproportionately represented amongst the ranks of the poor. The statistics do not show that according to a recent survey, as many as 40% of all the women in Uganda are unpaid family workers, mainly in agriculture.
It is also worth noting that conventional growth statistics do not adequately reflect the inequality of income between men and women, for those women who find employment. They do not reflect the glass ceiling that women hit in their careers, especially because they have to take time out to have and raise children.
The Queen further said that these statistics also do not take into account the lost economic output of the thousands of women who die in childbirth every year or the millions of women who are rendered less economically productive because they are looking after children who suffer from preventable diseases. Also citing that, growth statistics conceal the fact that the land tenure system unjustly favors men over women.
She pointed out that looking at the plight of women in present day Uganda, it is easy to throw one’s hands in the air and say that the situation is hopeless. But that is not how the women of Buganda or Uganda see it. Despite the challenges, women are the beating heart of agricultural and other economic production. “We are strong and resilient, beating the odds to contribute significantly to Uganda’s sustainable development”.
Going forward, the Queen noted, it is mandatory on the Government and private investors to reward the resilience of Uganda’s women by putting women at the centre of policy and investment decision making. “By this, I mean more than quantitative window dressing. What we need is a real qualitative assessment of gender sensitivity and gender impacts of all investments in our country”.
The Queen said that “we must commit genuine efforts to make growth translate into equitable and sustainable prosperity for women. The results will be swift if the first thing that is addressed is inequality in pay. Women are already working so hard for little or no pay, just imagine how much harder they can work when they are getting equitably paid”.
“Legitimate and ancient cultural institutions, such as the Kingdom of Buganda, have a role to play in promoting women to achieve sustainable development in Uganda. As I already said, Kingdoms such as ours have vast untapped social and economic influence. By enhancing the visibility of women, not just in leadership roles, but also in the tasks of economic production, cultural institutions can bring about the change that unleashes the presently constrained half of the population to production, wealth and prosperity”.
“Constructive partnerships between cultural institutions, on the one hand, and Government and/or private investors can help lower and eventually overcome the barriers that hold women back in the work place and elsewhere”.
She finally said that “together, we can work on the barriers to more meaningful economic participation by women – by improving access to maternal healthcare; reducing infant and child illness and mortality through better access to vaccines and primary healthcare; encouraging parents to send their girl children to school and to leave them there; and positively addressing and redressing the historical disadvantages faced by women in all aspects of economic production by inculcating a new culture of inclusiveness and equality. Government can also partner with legitimate cultural institutions to work towards achieving land tenure reform so as to ensure that women have security of tenure in the land that they occupy in their own rights and not simply as the daughters, wives or mothers of a man; the right to buy, inherit and bequeath registered titled land; and the right to equitably share in matrimonial property on the death of a spouse or upon divorce”.
She stressed that women play a big but largely under-recognized and unrewarded role in Uganda’s development. It is time that their efforts were recognized and duly rewarded.
She talked of her dedication to making a difference in the lives of the people of Uganda especially children, women, youth and vulnerable groups. In the year 2000, she established the Nnabagereka Development Foundation, which works strategically with other philanthropic institutions, with investors and with Government to provide support in key areas of need such as: maternal health; community development; education; public health; poverty eradication; cultural preservation and the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized groups.
The Nnabagereka Foundation, which has positioned itself as a pacesetter in leveraging the cultural voice for national and regional development, aspires to be a leading cultural foundation that uses culture as a development tool in contemporary society.
“We believe that the most successful development programs will be those that not only understand the distinctions that exist among different cultures, but those that integrate the positive elements within cultural institutions and work with cultural leaders as equal partners; recognize positive cultural contexts and culture as a key framework that defines our choices, opportunities and abilities. Some of NDF initiatives implemented include the bursary scheme for primary school girls, and scholarship for secondary and university female students; SRHR advocacy campaigns for both women and men; support to youth and women income generating projects; and our flagship program the Ekisaakaate kya Nnabagereka, a children’s cultural camp, which is founded on the cultural values of social responsibility, industriousness, integrity, respect for diversity, and discipline. As a result, children who go through the Ekisaakaate not only learn their native language, etiquette, personal and spiritual development, they also acquire leadership, business and entrepreneurship skills.”
Dr Louis A. Kasekende, Deputy Governor at the Bank of Uganda, provided an assessment of the state of the financial sector, key challenges and untapped opportunities. He said the size of Uganda’s economy has grown from USD 18.8Billion in 2010 to USD 25Billion. He added that contribution of the Diasporas to Uganda’s economic development in remittances of USD 1 billion in 2014 (AfDB AEO report, 2015) was to support mainly household expenditure such as education, health, and construction.
He pointed out significant transformation of the financial sector over the last two decades with about 25 banks that are well capitalized with capacity to finance solid projects. “We have managed to keep inflation at below 5% within single digit. This is also underpinned by prudent macroeconomic management and market oriented economic reforms and adoption of a liberalised foreign exchange regime, both for financing trade and investment, free to bring in money for investment and free to take out dividends, free to open letter of credit and finance trade. Both current and capital accounts are liberalised.”
On steady expansion of the banking sector, Dr Kasekende said that the Credit/GDP now is about 15% compared to below 5% in 1990 and improved soundness on non-performing loans down to an average of 4% (2010-2014) from 20% in 1998. Nevertheless, he said that more needs to be done to support the banking sector to achieve optimum growth and development.
On innovation of the payment system, he talked of the use of mobile money payment services which continue to grow strongly, increasing financial inclusion and access, especially for the unbanked population. Over six years ago, Uganda had only 10,000 users of mobile money and now has 19million registered users of mobile money. This has greatly increased safety of money transaction and cost of transferring money in the region. Kenya has about 24million registered mobile money users and Tanzania has 22million users. A regional system is needed where a user in the East African region can send money using mobile money to anyone within the region.
He talked about the promotion of the use of regional currency where an LC (Letter of Credit) in regional local currency can be issued without opening an LC in USD or £; and plans to extend the use of local currency to the COMESA region with about 22 countries.
Dr. Kasekende also talked about investment in government securities in form of treasure bills and bonds which are issued to finance government projects. On treasury bills, short term instruments has 91 days, 182 days issued bi-weekly and 364 days and treasury bonds long term has 2, 5, 10 and 15 years maturity structure issued once a month. Yields on selected Uganda Government securities are as follows; 91 Day 18.8%, 2 Year 18.72%, 5 Year 17.80%, 10 Year 18.04% and 15 Year 18.17%.
The amount for non-competitive auction has been increased from UGX10M to UGX200M starting FY2014-15; hence increased success for the retail segment. He advised investors to visit the Bank of Uganda website where the government securities Calendar and yield curve on the BOU guide people on participation, pricing and valuation of portfolios.
He disclosed that the EAC Capital Markets Infrastructure will go live in February 2016 to link the EAC financial markets and enable the realisation of a single market for financial markets products and link the securities exchanges to the Central Securities Depositories at the Central Bank, which will allow online bidding.
He also pointed out the Anti-Money Laundering Act- integrity of the financial sector being passed and the amendments to Finance institution act 2004 that permits Islamic & agent banking, Bancassurance.
Uganda has now listed equities over 16 plus some corporate bonds and recently migrated from a manual trading to an Automated Trading System.
He said that one of the biggest challenges is that Uganda’s financial sector is dominated by commercial banks (accounts for about 80% of total assets in the financial system). There is a need to reduce it to about 50% and promote the non-bank segment of the financial system like insurance, unit trusts, pension schemes as a way to diversification of financial products. Intermediate costs remain very high with 8-10% as the intermediation margin were most of the banks pay about 15% to mobilise long term resources and after adding on the 8%, then lending rates are about 23%. And capital markets remain under-developed thus limiting opportunities to invest in financial assets beyond government bonds.
He finally talked of key risks to financial sector development which were unintended consequences of anti-money laundering legislation and fines that are being imposed on banks constraining relationship between banks and those in the West and also the transfer of money especially to countries like Somalia; contagion from the volatility in advanced and emerging markets; risk of macroeconomic instability especially the current volatility of the exchange rate (External sector vulnerability-Current Account deficit (USD2.5Billion and exports USD3Billion) and ineffective prudential regulation of the financial sector, with key lessons from the 2007/08 global financial crisis.
Dr. Kasekende concluded by saying that Bank of Uganda’s commitment to the maintenance of price stability and a sound financial system remains unequivocal.
Remarks by Dr Josephine Ojiambo, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General
She started by saying that she is committed to support Uganda’s activities not just only in Commonwealth but as sister. She added that most of her relatives are at the Ugandan side in a town called Magamaga, so this makes her very close to Uganda.
She added that it is heartening to note that the Convention committee have chosen the theme of “Turning Growth into Prosperity”, and have been able to assemble a most impressive set of Speakers who will ably address various aspects of how to promote trade and investment in Uganda and how growth can be turned into prosperity.
Dr. Josephine started by emphasising that the Commonwealth has been a strong partner of Uganda for many years, and Ugandans have played prominent roles in the Secretariat and in its governance. President Yoweri Museveni served as Chairperson-in-Office from 2007 until 2009, and that Uganda hosted CHOGM in 2007. Mrs Florence Mugasha served as Deputy-Secretary-General (Political) from 2002-2008. The Late Professor Yusufu Lule, former President of Uganda, served as Assistant Secretary-General in the early 1970s.
She said that there is a direct correlation between the growth and prosperity and the advancement of political values in any region and in the wider Commonwealth family of states and peoples. It has been said that democracy and development are two sides of the same coin. That is why Commonwealth has been active in supporting democratic processes and institutions.
Commonwealth supports member states’ efforts to reform political processes and strengthen political institutions. The Commonwealth has also invited eminent Ugandan citizens to lead and support its work in democracy building and democratic processes.
She disclosed that CHOGM 2015 is under preparation and will be held in Malta from 27-29 November 2015. The special theme of CHOGM 2015 focuses on the Commonwealth ‘Adding Global Value’.
The four broad areas of focus for this CHOGM are: Commonwealth Political Values, Commonwealth Development Values, Climate Change and Commonwealth Relevance and Impact.
It is hoped that Heads will use the opportunity of discussing the outcomes of the UN processes on the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda and the related Financing for Development process, and the actions Commonwealth members can take to accelerate implementation of outcomes.
She revealed that some areas of support provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat to Uganda include support to Ministry of Trade develop a Strategic Action Plan to Implement Electronic Single Window Intervention focused on addressing issues in support of establishing appropriate mechanisms to enable Uganda to participate effectively in the global trading system. Another area of support provided was on the development of Uganda’s National Export Strategy.
Remarks by Ms Doris Akol, Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)
Doris started by giving a background of URA. In 1991, URA was set up as an agency of the Central Government for the administration and collection of specified taxes and revenues in accordance with various taxation statutes.
URA took over the revenue collection functions of the former tax departments under the Ministry of Finance. The vision was to collect revenue competitively, contractually and in a business-like manner.
In her presentation she highlighted the relationship between taxation and investment promotion which is to streamlined tax policy and administration system to facilitate investment promotion through a number of ways that range from; simplified processes relating to registration and payment of taxes, flexibility in tax laws and regulations and general availability of tax information to improve the investment climate. All these act as catalysts for boosting domestic and foreign direct investment.
Uganda is a politically stable country blessed with favourable climatic conditions, a relatively large labour force and open markets presenting a population of 145 million EAC consumers, 400 million consumers in COMESA and SADC (215million) as well as preferential access to the EU and US markets. Further significant oil reserves estimated at 3.5Billion Barrels, including 1.8Bilion that are recoverable presents great opportunity for Foreign Direct Investment. If Uganda is to reap from the existence of such abundant resources, government needs to generate sufficient revenue to facilitate investments in infrastructure in form of roads, energy and processing plants, developing the human capital based (skilled labour) and ensuring political stability. Therefore, the linkage between taxation and investment cannot be ignored.
On the current Investment Opportunities. The Government prioritized building and improving infrastructure, including energy production, lowered tariffs and trade barriers for international trade, and generally welcomes FDI.
On top of Tax incentives, Uganda offers incentives in four priority sectors: information and communication technology, tourism, value added agriculture, and value added investments in mineral extraction. Uganda is also hoping to lure additional investors with several industrial parks under development in Uganda’s largest urban centres including Jinja, Kasese, Mbarara, Mbale, Gulu and Soroti. Investors in priority sectors can get a 49year lease in an industrial park on the outskirts of Kampala without paying the usual $80,000 lease fee. The Namanve industrial park on the outskirts of Kampala has several large international companies already operating divided into four main industrial clusters: Food processing, light industry and services, heavy industry, and another for SMEs.
On tax reforms in Uganda she presented that the Government of Uganda has particularly made effort to rebuild the economy from three major fronts; fostering development of a private sector led self-sustaining economy; rehabilitating and developing the necessary economic infrastructure to facilitate investment and production and mobilizing internal resources to minimize economic overdependence (Deficit finance). These fronts are enabling Government to build a strong economy that will not only increase the levels of income but also strengthen the country’s resource base. With a strong economy it is certain that Uganda is moving towards developing an adequate and sustainable tax revenue base.
On revenue performance , the extensive impact of the URA transformation journey during the last decade have manifested through revenue collections growth and by end of Financial Year 2013/14, domestic revenues were in position to support 71.5% of the national budget that previously funded only 58.7% in FY 2004/05. This signified a growth rate of 317.5% (Ugx1.92trillion to Ugx8.03trillion) for the period 2004/5 – 2013/14. Uganda’s revenue collection growth competes at an average rate of 17.25% for the past ten (10) years against the region’s 16.46% for the period between FY 2005/06 to FY 2013/14.
On the Informal Sector & Uganda’s Tax Base. She emphasized the need for Uganda to formalize businesses. The Informal sector is estimated at 52.4% of the GDP (UBOS, 2014). In 2002 the size was 43%.
Top ranking economic sectors which are highly informal are agriculture (27%), Wholesale & Retail (24%), food processing (15%) and Manufacturing (14%). The informal sector employs more than 70% to 80% of the labour force (UBOS, 2014) while 59.8% of Ugandans are employed in the non-agriculture informal sector (ILO, 2012).
Applause: Uganda is currently funding a recurrent expenditure budget at 100% out of locally collected revenues.
Some of the achievements by the government utilizing domestically mobilized revenues has had the share of population with access to electricity, has risen from 10% in 2009 to 14% in 2013 following the completion of the 250 MW Bujagali Hydropower Project and other mini power projects.
Government is determined to provide electricity for manufacturing at 4 US$ cents per unit whatever the challenges. Preliminary work on the construction of the Oil Refinery near Hoima is ongoing financed by government revenues at UgShs 14.7 billion. Heavy investment in the improvement of road network using government revenue has recorded the following achievements; The proportion of national paved roads in fair to good condition increased from 74 percent in financial year 2010/11 to 80 percent in financial year 2013/14, and this is projected to improve to 85 percent in this year; and The condition of national unpaved roads in fair to good condition has increased from 64 percent to 67 percent over the same period, exceeding the NDPI target of 55 percent.
On regional integration, Uganda will benefit Ease of doing business through improved customs clearance procedures, enhancing service provision at border points by introducing a 24 hour working system; offer fast clearing services especially for large trucks and reduce time taken for the verification of documents; freedom of movement of goods by removing any border restrictions, accepting the use of one common EAC identification document and ensuring the same standards for document verification at all borders this will reduce time wastage. And harmonization of Tax Procedures of all member countries to make it easy for investors to invest in any country. Uganda is part of the East African single customs territory, thus, URA has offices in Kenya to administer and implement a single customs territory where goods are recognised and revenue is declared and collected at that point.
She appealed delegates to take advantage of incentives and exemptions that are provided in the tax laws in making investment decisions. This requires knowledge on available incentives and how you can invest in areas that can give a head start as far as tax incentives are concerned.
Remarks by Ziria Tibalwa Wako, the ERA director technical regulation, Electricity Regulatory Authority
Ziria gave an insight into regulating the power generation, transmission, distribution, sale, export & import of electrical energy in Uganda, and to guide the liberalization of the electricity industry, manage li-censing, rates, safety and other matters concerning the electricity industry.
The sector has had an evolving vision starting with reform through the electricity acts with objec-tives of increase sector efficiency , make the power sector financially viable and making the power sector financially sustainable and Reduce/ remove subsidies from Government Budget.
Electricity Sector Reforms – Electricity ACT 1999 unbundled and vertically integrated the Uganda Electricity Board into the three segments that is generation, transmission and distribution and thus necessitated the electricity regulator. Now, 21 companies are regulate within the sector among the biggest players; ESKOM managing the old generation assets, Umeme in charge of 95% of distribu-tion segments, Bujagali Energy Limited in charge of Bujagali energy hydro and various small, Min-grid and Cooperatives
Uganda generation power capacity is 852megawatts while the peak 520megawatts with a surplus of approximately 300megawatts which is an opportunity for new investors to take advantage and consume.
The future for the sector is promising with a distribution network standing at 2000 kilometres and expected to double in the next three years.
Uganda is no longer load shedding but due to aged distribution infrastructure the system is forced to interfere with transmission in order to maintain the grid.
On the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (GETFiT) Programme she added that it is a top-up mechanism funded by UK DECC, UK DFID, EU ITF, Germany, Norway with a total commitment of about EUR 70 – 90 million to help stabilize Ugandan power sector finances by adding least-cost Re-newable Energy generation capacity and help to decentralize and diversify of Uganda’s energy mix, thus enhancing security of supply and make investment in small renewables and that is hydro, ba-gasse, biomass and make them financially attractive. The objectives of the GETFIT project is to Promotion of clean energy in Uganda. Reduce approximately 11million tonnes of CO2 bridging the gap between the generation and demand for the forecasted short to medium term as we wait for the long awaited Karuma and Isimba power generation projects.
She finally stressed that investment opportunities largely lies in the off grid rural based electrifica-tion projects, generation and transmission and distribution segments. The national grid access is at 20% with the 80% of the 35million Ugandans still struggling using biomass as the source of energy and this pose great opportunities. The government is running another tender specifically for solar and investors are needed to take advantage of bankable power purchase and sales agreements.
These are some of the investment opportunities in Renewable Energy.
The potential for development of large hydropower projects along River Nile is estimated at about 2,000 MW. With only 380 MW developed at Kiira and Nalubaale, and 250 MW at Bujagali, the unex-ploited potential is well over 1300MW.
Small hydro presents a category of energy sources which could sustainably contribute to en-hancement of rural electrification especially if the project area has no existing power distribution. There is already available sites for development.
Biomass based power generation is increasingly becoming competitive and considerably cheaper than thermal power based on fossil fuels. The need for modern biomass energy has become more tenable due to increased electricity demand, coupled with unfavorable weather changes that have resulted into decreased water levels in Lake Victoria.
Co-generation is convenient in situations where there are excess agricultural residues such as ba-gasse, coffee and rice husks. In the case of sugar industries, there is often excess bagasse after the factory requirement, which can be used to generate electricity for local sale or for feeding into the national grid.
Geothermal energy is one of the possible alternative renewable energy sources in Uganda which could supplement other sources of energy and investigations revealed three major potential areas for detailed exploration, namely; Katwe-Kikorongo, Buranga and Kibiro. These are all situated in or near the Western Rift Valley of Uganda (zone of most recent volcanic activities). According to the Renewable Energy Policy of Uganda, 2007, the combined geothermal potential from these three major areas is 450MW.
Existing solar data clearly shows that the solar energy resource in Uganda is high throughout the year. With mean solar radiation of 5.1 kWh/m2 per day on a horizontal surface, the country has a potential of 11.98 x 108 MWh gross energy resources. At an estimated conversion efficiency of 10%, the country has available power of 11.98 x 107 MWh. At present, solar photo-voltaic (PV) electricity is not generated in sufficient quantities for inter-connection to the national grid.
Howev-er, one of the long-term policy measures to increase diversity and security in energy supply in the country is to develop small renewable projects including the use solar PV generated electrical en-ergy.
In that regard, the Board of ERA in April 2014 considered and approved a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) of US$ 11 Cents per kWh for grid connected solar PV energy. Procurement of new capacity from solar technology is subject to a competitive tendering process initiated by the ERA in accordance with the Electricity Act, 1999 Chapter 145, Laws of Uganda.
Mr Dennis B. Aguma, President of Kingston Entrepreneurs (Kingston University) in his presentation on youth entrepreneurship and Uganda’s key to prosperity for all, cited that according to recent reports Uganda is the most entrepreneurial country – entrepreneurship rate of 28%, almost doubles the entrepreneurship rate of Thailand 16% (Approved Index, n.d.); world’s largest percentage of young people under 30 – 78% – the UN Population Fund; GEM – average entrepreneur in Uganda is aged 18-34; 90% of young people would prefer to be running their own businesses as a career choice; 38% of young people, compared to 36% for adults overall, engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity; 64% of 18-30 unemployed and Uganda’s labour force is growing at more than 4% per year. He pointed out that despite the accolades Uganda still has an enterprise skills gap and businesses are started out of desperation and necessity.
He introduced his new scheme, Student Enterprise Initiative (SEI) which will create a generation of enterprising Ugandans equipped with the tools necessary for the creation and management of sustainable businesses. With strategic deliverables that will also create Enterprise Societies in Universities, colleges, Sec & Primary Schools. Link up with other established societies and universities KUNACUE the National Enterprise Challenge – the Startup Factor, a UK Government endorsed organization that provides individuals with start-up funding and mentoring to launch and develop their own businesses.
Mr Ian Harrison, the Regional Director, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) gave an insight on how UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) can provide international trade advice and practical support for people to grow their business in Uganda. He said that Uganda is important for UK and the bilateral trade activity is now UK£200 Million per annum which needs to be increased. He emphasised on the opportunities in extractive industries, agriculture, infrustracture and education. He disclosed that they have more than one thousand companies interested to do business in Uganda and among those who travelled with him, he mentioned Clifton packaging PLC.
He said that Uganda has a few factors that appeal to UK; fully liberalised economy, all sectors liberalised for investment, 100% foreign ownership permitted, member of COMESA, a strong national resource base (rainfall, good favorable climate, unexploited mineral deposits), tourism opportunity, oil and gas, trainable labour, a committed government to the private sector and security of investment. He further said that all these factors are indication that there is growing and sustainable opportunities in Uganda for UK companies to be competetive. He pointed out a few challenges including poor transport infruststructure to get goods around, cost of energy, product couterfeiting and lack of direct freight from the UK.
Finally, he said that UKTI offers services to UK companies to do business in Uganda including marketing and localization, working with agents and distributors, product launches, seminars, marketing, securing meetings with high government officials, expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in the British Embassy in Kampala. They provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive. They also offer professional, authoritative and personalised assistance to help companies in Uganda locate and expand in the UK. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) staff provide expert international trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas and it is important that Ugandans in the UK take advantage of it, as UKTI has a country resource centre who can help people access marketing intelligence. Also companies can participate in UKTI trade missions.
Mr Nuradin Osman, Director of Operations, Africa and Middle East at AGCO, started by giving an overview of his company whose vision is providing high-tech solutions for professional farmers feeding the world. With a mission to promote profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment to its customers globally, ACGO, a worldwide and largest manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has core brands including Challenger tractors, Fendt, GSI, Massey Fergusson and Valtra.
Mr Osman shared a video on AGCO’s Future Farm vision which is to support sustainable food production systems and increase farm output by using agricultural resources more efficiently. The 150-hectare farm is divided into a wide range of demonstration crop areas all cultivated, planted and harvested using AGCO’s full-line of agricultural equipment, and with support from commercial and not for profit partners from across the value chain. Its facilities will include a state-of-the-art Mechanization Learning Center as well as a Grain and Poultry Learning Center, each a first of its kind for Africa.
On AGCO’s Future Farm, those supporting small to medium scale farmers with limited access to modern farming practices will benefit from a range of training courses from basic agronomy, post-harvest solutions and mechanization. Training on best practice for protein production, grain storage and precision farming technologies will target the needs of large-scale commercial farming. “For us, inclusive, sustainable mechanization means designing our products with Africa in mind. It means building our products on the continent and supporting our products and customers locally with parts from our new logistics center in Johannesburg. It means providing local farmers with education in core agricultural practices and training operators, mechanics as well as our local dealers on how to operate, service and maintain agricultural equipment.”
Mechanization is the critical ingredient to raising agricultural productivity in Africa although other constraints are slowing the speed of progress and need to be tackled in parallel. Factors include inadequate access to and use of improved seed, the right blends of fertilizers; the need for favorable trade and land policies; quality post-harvest management solutions and functional markets for harvested crops.
He talked of challenges on increasing usage of tractors per acreage to boost mechanisation in Africa. He cited that in USA, 25 tractors are used per 1000HA while 1 is used in Africa. Other challenges include: Africa has the land, but farm technology levels are very low, under-investment in farm equipment, yields well below Western levels and market remains challenged due to credit constraints.
He explained AGCO’s strategy for sustainable mechanization: 100USD$ has been invested in Africa in various projects including 3500 tractors in Joint Venture in Algeria, Global Series Tractor Launch, Emerging Farmer Package, Bags2Bulk, USD$35Million in Johannesburg state of the art parts warehouse and a USD$10Million Future Farm Concept in Zambia. He finally said that managing agriculture is very important and can lead to Africa feeding the world. 65% of the world’s arable land is in Africa but still under-utilized. Also, he emphasized the importance of attracting youth to agriculture. He reported that less than 2% of graduate in Africa are registered in agriculture and these are the future of Africa.
He concluded by disclosing that AGCO is developing a package for small scale farmers. A competitively priced mechanization package combined with strong brands, partnerships, education and distribution in all African markets is a game changer and these will include; trailer/ box, planter, disc harrow, disc plough, sub-soiler and a tractor for under $20,000.
In addition, he confirmed AGCO’s commitment in investing in Uganda and that AGCO, with partners, are planning to establish a vertically integrated poultry production which will soon be a reality.
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal, the Opposition Chief Whip, as a commercial farmer shared the importance of agriculture to Ugandans. She pointed out that 26% GDP is contributed by agriculture and 66% of the workforce in Uganda is involved in agriculture. In order for the government to reduce poverty in Uganda, more investment is needed in the agriculture sector. She appealed to Ugandans in the Diaspora to help the parliament in policy understanding because the rate of growth in the sector is still very low at just 1.5% and the share of the budget is just a mere 2.98% of the total budget which should have been 5% as prescribed by the government. She emphasized the importance of land tenure law transformation and utilizing it fully to alleviate poverty in Uganda.
She also advised investors to negotiate leasing land with land owners to make them involved and utilizing the land for future generations. It is an asset that needs to be exploited for the interest of the people of Uganda. She also added that Uganda is endowed with arable land that can be utilized to curb the unemployment of the youth.
Hon. Wafula Oguttu, leader of the Opposition, talked of the status of agriculture in Uganda over the last 30 years which hasn’t had any transformation comparing to other sectors like cities, education etc. He proposed that there is a need to transform the sector to allow the 60% citizens dependent on subsistence farming to contribute to the economy. Hon. Oguttu also commented on the idle land owned by people with money and these are the people to focus on mechanizing agriculture. Those 60% own little and fragmented land that would not need tractors or mechanisation.
H.E. Professor Joyce Kikafunda (UK), professor of agriculture and food science presented on nutrition and food security and the possible causes of malnutrition in Uganda. She also reported that food security does not guarantee good nutrition. 25% of Ugandans suffer from food insecurity especially in the north region. Also demographic and health survey reports of 15 years have shown that 30% of children below 5 years are stunted. Uganda is classified among the high malnutrition burden countries in the world. She also added that over 7% of adolescents are overweight and over 5% of adults are obese, bringing in a lot of disease implications which the health system in Uganda cannot handle. Poverty, disease and ignorance are the main cause of these. This shows a potential for an investment in the area. And all these rob the economy of 4% of its GDM which is an alarming loss.
She finally gave a few solutions and already good policies that are in place. A focus on mothers during pregnancy/conception to children up to two years, PPP (Public Private Partnerships) and capacity building. Some of the problems include lack of multi-sectorial coordination, implementation, budget and financing and lack of supportive roles.
Questions from the audience:
- Sarah Oloya posed a question to Hon. Cecilia Ogwal on the government position on GM food. Sarah felt that Uganda does not need GM food as we have enough fertile land to grow enough food. Hon. Cecilia Ogwal responded that there is a law tabled awaiting general debate. Hon. Cecilia proposed that we should come up with improved seeds rather than GM products. She also proposed that the government needs to regulate importation and utilization of GM products in the open market. Nurudin Osman also supplemented that Africa needs to follow the new trend in Europe of organic food and probably find a solution to make seeds more resistant to pests than modifying seeds.
- Ms Chibewe Henry from the Zambia Diaspora was impressed that nutrition is raised at the convention but wondered if the government plans to engage the Diaspora in advancing the nutrition agenda. Her next question was posed to Nurudin Osman on their plans to support and build capacity with the rural communities.
- Irene Nakayima commended HE Joyce Kikafunda for her presentation on nutrition and appealed to the government to give a serious thought considering the fact that 30% of Ugandan children below the age of 5 are stunted.
- Okuku Wera was concerned about the (insufficient) power supply which is needed to boost Uganda’s industrialisation. And secondly, he wanted to know what the country is doing to stop the inflow of poor standard goods into the country.
- Apollo Katumwa narrated that the solution to the problem presented is education. There is a need to impart what we know to the next generation through education in order to tackle problems that Uganda has had in the last 50 years. He also suggested making agriculture compulsory in schools. HE Professor Joyce Kikafunda (UK) agreed with Apollo’s idea of education and sensitization being important to fight malnutrition in Uganda.
- A delegate who imports food from Uganda lamented that he has engaged farmers to produce food that is suitable for UK market and has failed due to poor suitability of production. The challenge is that these farmers do not have the necessary skills and knowledge to sustain production. He blamed the government for lack of support and training farmers and lack of financial inclusion for these farmers to attain affordable credit facilities. Failure to support farmers will resort to importers going to countries like Costa Rica where production and market has been tested to sustain demand.
- Sarah Kakai appealed to the government to provide subsidies to farmers to be able to afford mechanizing agriculture.
Eng. Dr. Frank B. Sebbowa, Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority in response to some of the questions from delegates said that asset leasing is available in Uganda and some banks like DFCU are offering this service for farmers looking for capital. He pointed out that in order to improve productivity in agriculture, fertilization of the land is needed to be able to compete with the rest of the world. He warned that if Ugandans insist on subsistence farming, they will never succeed; an investor needs to be able to work with outgrowers to produce the quantity and quality of products needed by the market and as well as giving support to outgrowers. He appealed to delegates to look at these challenges as investment opportunities.
He appealed to people to look at the DVD with a compendium of more than 300 projects which Diasporans could look to find feasible projects in Uganda. These can be attained from the High Commission and UIA offices in Uganda.
On electricity, he reported that the new power generation being put in place is more than 1000watts which will exceed Uganda’s power consumption.
Hon. Wafula Oguttu, in response to some of the other questions suggested that the government needs to invest in tractor schemes and also return-operatives which will transform Uganda’s agriculture.
Nuradin Osman appealed to delegates from Africa to allow and encourage their children to study courses in agriculture to fill the mismatch gap. Only 2% of Africans study agriculture where 70% of Africa’s economy is based on agriculture, this being a huge mismatch. Education is important if it targets what Africa needs in order to transform Africa.
He was concerned about banks that offer a 22% interest rates on loans to farmers which is not competitive comparing to USA where it is 0%. Uganda needs to introduce single digits loans to farmers in local currency and the government should block produce from outside to allow farmers to sell their products locally. Small scale farmers need to be protected.
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal appealed to Ugandan scientists in the Diaspora to help the government to understand more about GM products. The investment environment is conducive for people to invest and she recommended people to read three documents which are Uganda’s vision 2040 which prescribes what Uganda needs; National Development Plan2 to acquaint with themselves with what programmes the government has in order for you to plan your investment; and lastly the budget framework paper which shows the government financial plans in the economy.
Diaspora engagement session
Some selected members from the African Diaspora discussed policy engagement with the Ugandan Diaspora at the Convention. The session was moderated by Onyekachi Wambu, a director at Afford. Panelists included Chibwe Henry (Zambian), Professor Fred Waleba (Ugandan) , Isabella Lisk (Sierra Leonean) and Hon. Apetit Francis. It was decided to include other Diasporans from Africa to hear about their challenges and good case studies.
Professor Fred Waleba stressed that Uganda cannot be sustained on foreign investors alone. His concern was that Uganda has attracted mediocre investors especially from China who are on the street of Kampala selling pancakes.
He further said that Ugandans in the Diaspora are the biggest resource which Uganda should take advantage of. The government needs to recognise Diasporas and bestow them a full-fledged ministry. Diasporans needs to be more empowered with incentives to go back home.
On dual-citizenship, Prof. Waleba wondered why Ugandans in the Diaspora need to pay to become Ugandans. If Diasporans contribute more than 23% of the GDP, then they should be recognized by suspending the fee.
He suggested that Ugandans in the Diaspora should mobilise funds and form up an investment bank rather than building houses they never live in.
He also suggested that the Uganda government is run by old people which is unfair to a country whose population is 70% youth. Young people should be included in the running of Uganda.
Ms Chibwe Henry suggested that the government needs to fully engage Diasporans in order to understand how to attend to their needs in terms of policies. As a Zambian, she was impressed with the Ugandan government, as much has been done in terms of designing projects suitable for Diasporans and government representation at the Convention is a good sign.
Onyekachi Wambu expressed the challenges facing Uganda including the youth where 60% of Ugandans are under the age of 20. He wondered if there was any programme in place to engage the Diaspora youth. He supported the point that if youth in the Diaspora are not engaged, then the two generations to come won’t be able to sustain remittance due to lack of connection to Uganda.
He also wondered how Diasporans can be engaged to create jobs back home and what structures are put in place.
Ms Isabella Lisk commended the Ugandan Convention as the leading example that can be replicated to the Sierra Leonean Diaspora to engage them to also invest back home. She cited the issue of data and statistics accuracy if Diaspora policy documents are to be fully raised, referring to a programme by World Bank which reported that lack of skills, land and health facilities, water, energy and tax incentives failed to encourage Diasporas to go back home. Statistics and data has to be fed to the government coherently so that they draw polices that addresses the right issues.
Hon. Dr. Francis Apetit expressed discomfort of the dual-citizenship act which was passed in Uganda parliament and which Diasporans have not benefited much from. He pledged to get back to parliament and request a re-tabling of the bill to be reviewed or amended to address the very problems they were intended to address.
Encouraging Medical Volunteering, Internships and health care investments in Uganda
The health forum brought together various stakeholder in healthcare in Uganda and UK based Uganda partnerships who shared work in Uganda with colleagues, challenges and to look for synergies and opportunities for cooperation both internationally and with Uganda colleagues towards improving health in Uganda. There was a real value placed on the partnerships that have been established with UK health institutions and Diaspora organisations, most of which was harnessed and highlighted as a key driver to better wealth investment in health.
Professor Ged Bryne co-chair of Uganda UK Health Alliance (UUKHA) gave a history of UUKHA, a model he co-created with Lord Nigel Crisp to better co-ordinate healthcare and partnerships in UK and Uganda to meet the priorities of the ministry of health with the Uganda Health Permanent Secretary Dr Asuman Lukwago co-chair in Uganda.
One of the largest UK Health Partnerships Schemes investors in Uganda Healthcare are Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), Andrew Jones Head of Partnerships THET spoke about some of the barriers to health in Uganda that they support to overcome mainly shortage of healthcare worker. THET has played a vital role in promoting capacity building by funding the facilitation of skills for healthcare workers, with over 7, 511 healthcare workers trained in a diverse fields ranging from Palliative care, mental health, NCDs, surgery, Maternal and child health in Uganda.
David Cunningham Chef Executive of The ARCHIE Foundation, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital informed the participants of their Investments in Uganda Healthcare by opening the first Paediatric Theatre Uganda on Sunday 19th April 2015 in Nagulu Kampala with the support of the current minister of health and one of the 3 paediatric surgeons for the 18 million children who need care in Uganda. David called out to Uganda Medical Diasporas for ways of making this sustainable hoped to invest in Diasporas as evaluators as well as learning lessons from other UK based partnerships in Uganda.
Professor Richard Smith, Former Editor of British Medical Journal and Dr Tracey Eastman, British Medical Journal, BMJ also Knowledge Innovation Unit manager at Cape Town University offered an approach to rural Uganda Healthcare with Practical Approach Care Kit, (PACK) an up to date evidence based total guidance for a range of conditions from tropical diseases such as TB, Malaria, women’s health to NCDs and Mental health.
The theme of localising models in Uganda continued with Caroline Hounsell Director of Partnerships and Business, outlining Mental Health First Aid England Armed Forces in Uganda awareness programme now training of trainers package of ‘fighting fit” with Uganda police defence force.
Dr Dave Baillie, Consultant Psychiatrist, Chair of Butabika-East London NHS Trust Link, summarised THET facilitated capacity building initiatives in promoting mental health in Uganda at Butabika national referral and regional hospitals. These included child and adolescent mental health diploma, preventing and managing violence in hospital, psychological interventions, and peer support recovery programme an approach to overcome brain drain to brain gain with peer support workers as part of the healthcare provision system. The work of the Uganda Diasporas with nursing staff on stress management and physical health awareness as well as their consultations with policy makers to bridge cultural gaps has helped sustain the 10yr partnership.
Other lifesaving initiatives in Uganda who presented were Sarah Kessler Lifebox Foundation who filled in for LifeBox Foundation Trustee Dr Isabeau Walker on how they invest in safer surgeries by providing pulse oximeters among other tools such as WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and medical equipment in Uganda.
Dr Johanna Riha, Policy Director All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, Office of Lord Crisp, concluded the session by highlighting their efforts to promote health policy in global health, an encompassing role of Diasporas, service users and key stakeholders in Uganda and UK as well as integral role of partnerships.
Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation co-founder summarised the discussions key closing message investing in Uganda healthcare is making wealth through health. Urged Uganda medical and healthcare Diasporas to take action, better together than stopping at recognising the limitation. He reminded that there is a need for a step further to put passion, interest into commitment to act locally and globally. This starts by attending the Uganda UK Healthcare Summit 30th April 2016, a health investment conference at British Medical Journal London, c/o of British Medical Association House.
Youth forum: breaking barriers “developing unification and trust through breaking cultural barriers”
The Ugandan youth engaged in a thought productive discussion to tackle some of the challenges currently being faced in developing trust and unification among other Ugandans within their community. During the youth forum individuals discussed various cultural barriers which were identified to have prevented Ugandans (individuals/community) from developing and sustaining trust among the community.
The following subtopics were discussed under the overlying theme (‘Trust and Unification’), the Importance of Cultural Identification, Influences of your Social and Professional Network, the importance of education, media and technology in advancing within society.
The discussion was facilitated by ‘John Ssemanda’ founder and president of Breaking Barriers “Connecting Cultures”. Breaking Barriers is a philanthropic organization geared towards the unification, personal development and education of African youth living in the United States.
The organization serves as part of the AFRICAN DIASPORA with efforts to connect cultures. The Ugandan UK Convention Youth forum hosted a panellist of five panellist speakers which represented a diversity of young voices from various walks of life and tribal affiliations in the Diaspora.
Each panellist speaker provided immense value towards sharing their personal story towards navigating their career path as a Ugandans residing in the UK and maintained effective dialogue with the audience in answering questions and sharing best practices in overcoming challenges.
Overall, the UK Youth Forum “Developing Unification and Trust through Breaking Cultural Barriers” was a complete success.
All the feedback received was positive as we had a great turn out and thought productive discussion!