Uganda - South Africa Investment Summit opens next week in South Africa

Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo (L) greets Inspire Africa CEO Nelson Tugume during a press conference at MTN Uganda headquarters in Kampala on February 22.

What you need to know:

  • Government and business leaders will discuss emerging business and investment opportunities between both countries.

The Ugandan business community has been flagged off in preparation for the South Africa Trade Investment and Tourism summit, scheduled at the Gallagher Convention Center, Midrand, South Africa, from  February 27th to 28th.

On 28th February, the business community will be provided with a networking platform to identify potential projects and partners for investment and collaboration. This session will be graced by His Excellencies, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his host Cyril Ramaphosa.

Organised jointly by the Government of Uganda and the Republic of South Africa, under the theme "Boosting Trade and Investment Relations Between South Africa and Uganda", the summit will provide a platform for the business community and government agencies to identify existing and emerging business and investment opportunities of mutual benefit.

Over 300 delegates comprising business leaders, government agencies and investors from the two countries will be in attendance. They will explore opportunities in sectors of Agriculture, tourism, oil and gas, healthcare and transport and logistics, amongst other sectors.

The purpose is to bring buyers and sellers from both countries along with investors in the value chain of the key export products from Uganda, together. 

Uganda has a target of US$6 billion in non-oil exports between 2023 and 2028, to stave off growing unemployment, restore sustained growth in key sectors of the economy post Covid-19 and increase value addition in agriculture along with more manufacturing in country.

Uganda is focused on increasing exports of beef, dairy, coffee, sugar, cement, steel products, poultry, bananas and banana flour, fruits and vegetables and tourism. South Africa consumes Uganda’s coffee, vanilla, chocolate and other products.

The trade summit will begin on February 27th 2023, with the plenary session followed by a panel discussion by technical experts on the bottlenecks and mechanisms for unlocking trade and investment potential between Uganda and South Africa.

Roundtable meetings with industry experts will follow, focusing on the opportunities of mutual benefit in the energy, oil and gas sectors, boosting African trade in value-added products and unlocking mutually beneficial business opportunities in infrastructure.

Speaking at the briefing event, Robert Mukiza, the Director General at the Uganda Investment Authority said: "Uganda enjoys excellent bilateral relations with South Africa, and this is premised on the long-standing bond between our two countries long before South Africa gained independence. The summit is one way we leverage the existing cordial relations to showcase and identify potential areas for collaboration so that we scale up trade between our two countries."

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development, Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo further emphasized Uganda’s need to grow export revenue especially in Africa. He requested Uganda business community traveling to South Africa to conclude deals and attract investors in order to achieve the growth in export revenue by USD 6BN over the next five years.

He said, “Markets only make sense if the firms have a deep working relationship and knowledge of what to sell and how. Each of us must carry sample products, brochures, have books of accounts of the last five years, be honest with our strength and weaknesses and know how to communicate to our brothers in South Africa and this should be for every market. We go to avoid talk shops and go for deals and equity investors in our firms.”

Enid Edroma, general manager, corporate affairs at MTN Uganda thanked the government for the favourable policies and regulations that have enabled the telecom company and other businesses to succeed.

Enid Edroma, general manager corporate affairs at  MTN Uganda speaks during a press conference in Kampala.

She, however, requested the government to harmonise its policies, especially in the telecom sector, with the country’s aspiration for digitalisation.

She said the government needs to forfeit taxes on smartphones like it is in Rwanda to drive the prices of smartphones downwards and thus stir their uptake leading to a reduction in operational costs and so the cost of internet.

South Africa is one of Uganda's fastest-growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment and is leading in telecommunication, banking, energy and many others. Uganda, on the other hand exports pharmaceuticals products, coffee, Vanilla, Flowers and vegetables.

The South Africa - Uganda, Trade investment and Tourism summit is part of the government's intentional initiatives to increase its export quota in the regional and international markets.