KAMPALA. Ugandans in the diaspora have been challenged to create private equities and invest in private companies and skills developments instead of keeping their money in banks.
Mr James Aguma, the chief financial officer South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), while speaking at the 5th annual diaspora business breakfast at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, said: “I see so many Ugandans in the diaspora with lots of money. They should create a private equity and invest in private companies and skills which can be extended back home.”
In order to achieve this, Mr Aguma said diasporans have got to form business associations.
He cited the Turkish and Chinese who have formed associations in South Africa and are aggressively promoting investments back in their respective countries.
“The irony is that Ugandans are good at associating around cultural-social issues but never in business. Take a case in Johannesburg where there is a number of successful Ugandan businesspeople who associate using their wealth into showbiz, driving very expensive vehicles but cannot give or invest this money into those people with business ideas at home,” Mr Aguma said.
He added: “If they formed associations, they would help them collect funds and ideas to be able to invest back home and this would create jobs to so many of the unemployed Ugandans and thus economic development.”
Going by the day’s Theme: “Investing for Early Retirement” , Mr Aguma said South Africa has a lot of investment opportunities that East Africans and Ugandans in particular can take advantage of. A case in point is tourism. “You can be able to buy a game lodge in South Africa at a less cost compared to what it would cost for a plot of land in Kololo which is rated at $3m (Shs10b). As an East African, if you invest this money in South Africa, then bring the proceeds back home,” he added.
He said mining is the other opportunity that Ugandans living in South Africa can exploit because assets are cheap.
Mr Andrew Sseguya, the executive director Uganda Wildlife Authority, urged the diasporans to invest in tourism because of its enormous opportunities.
“Accommodation facilities in the national parks are not enough for the number of tourists coming into the country. This isone area where you should put your money,” Mr Sseguya said.
It is estimated that more than 1.2 million Ugandans are living and working in UK, US, South Africa, Japan and China among others.
According to statistics from Bank of Uganda total Personal Transfers Received in 2014 was estimated at $885.9 million (Shs3 trillion). This figure is equivalent to 3.3 percent of the country’s GDP.
However this figure reflects a decrease of 4.9 percent compared to the $931.6 million (Shs3.1 trillion) earned in 2013.