Museveni promises investors quick rewards

Vice President Jessica Alupo, who represented President Museveni, addresses investors at the opening of the East African Trade and Investment Forum in Kampala on January 16, 2024. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA.  

What you need to know:

  • Mr Museveni assured investors that Uganda has maintained a relatively stable and robust economic growth rate over the years at an average of about 6.2 percent in the past 37 years.

President Museveni has asked investors attending the maiden East African Trade and Investment Forum (EATIF) to consider investing in a secure and profitable Uganda where they will be assured a return on their investments.

In his speech, delivered to the investors by Vice President Jessica Alupo on January 16, Mr Museveni said the country’s $50 billion economy enjoys market linkages within the $305 billion East African Community (EAC) economy. 

The latter, he added, is the fastest growing and most diversified economic bloc on the African continent.

“Uganda is centrally located, providing access to the regional markets of the EAC, the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa), and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with more than 55 member states,” he said.

He added: “The AfCFTA created a market of 1.4 billion consumers, making it the ideal partner for trade and investment. Therefore, the AfCFTA agreement will increase trade among Africans by about 33 percent and boost investment in Africa.”

Uganda, he noted, is a liberal economy with open trade policies and a liberal investment regime, and all sectors are open for investment.

“The country allows free movement of exports and imports and free movement of capital with unrestricted transfer of dividends. [There is] high return on investment. For example, agribusinesses, unlike many other jurisdictions, is very profitable here, with an average return on investment of about 14 percent,” he said.

The forum
More than 100 investors from countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Morocco, and India, among others, are attending the EATIF. It is running between January 15 and 18 as a side event of the ongoing Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Group of 77 + China (G-77) that started on Monday. The latter will bring down the curtain on a packed programme on January 23.

The forum aims at luring investors to sign deals worth at least Shs378 billion, with Uganda Investment Authority and other private sector players eager to boost trade and tourism opportunities.

Mr Museveni assured investors that Uganda has maintained a relatively stable and robust economic growth rate over the years at an average of about 6.2 percent in the past 37 years.

“Uganda’s [Gross Domestic Product] GDP per capita, now at $1,100 (about Shs4.2m) , is fast rising and thus promising a sustainable market for local production of fast-moving consumer goods and services, making the country highly rewarding for Foreign Direct Investment,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Finance minister Matia Kasaija affirmed that Uganda has “made strides in improving investors’ climate by streamlining taxes, good governance, putting in place proper business environment and ensuring your money is safe.”

Ms Elsie Attafuah, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said NAM countries should use this ongoing meeting to come up with positions that will help them negotiate on a global scale. 

She noted that NAM states, especially those in Africa, can intensify adoption of the AfCFTA, technology transfer and also create multiple employment to benefit their population.

Multiple government ministries, departments and agencies used the forum to exhibit Uganda’s investment potentials in the mineral, energy, tourism, trade and transport sectors.

Multiple incentives, including free land, serviced industrial parks and manufacturing zones, available and cheap electricity to manufacturers, good transport network, tax holidays for those adding value to raw materials, were presented to investors who would wish to put their money into Ugandan economy.

Mr Museveni said the EATIF is not only a platform, “but [is] also instrumental in enhancing regional development, trade, diversifying exports and integrating African economies with the global economies.”

He concluded thus: “It is our pledge that the Government of Uganda, through its agencies, will honour our commitments made at the EAC Trade and Investment forum and will continue to support its deliberations.”