Investment: How Uganda Sealed $2 Billion Business Deals at Dubai Expo

When Uganda went out to participate in the Dubai Expo 2020, the East African country targeted bringing home business deals worth billions of dollars in form of investment.

The Expo happened between October 2021 and March 2022 having been postponed due to COVID-19.

Indeed, the country was not disappointed as officials reported business deals worth $2 billion were signed within the six months of the expo.

The 2020 Dubai Expo which is a Universal Exhibition, attracted at least 200 countries and hundreds of potential investors.

It was held under the 3 sub-themes: Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility. Uganda participated in the “Opportunity” theme where showcased its exports and tourism attractions as well as emerging investment opportunities.

From the onset, Uganda sought investment in areas such as infrastructure, mining, health, tourism, agriculture, real estate, energy, industrialisation, and oil and gas.

Just within October, shortly after the Expo opened, the country announced that it had already signed investment commitment deals worth $650 million.

These included $500 million for renewable energy and transportation projects; a $50 million for mineral processing; and $50 million for a new pharmaceutical facility to manufacture high quality diagnostics kits for HIV/Aids, Malaria, TB, and other POC diagnostic technology, according to local media.

“Today’s announcement of investment of about $650 million is part of our broader ambition to bring in $4 billion of new investment into Uganda to propel the country forward as it embarks on its post-pandemic recovery journey,” said Robert Mukiza, Director-General of the Uganda Investment Authority after signing the deals.

Mukiza said then that the country was promoting about 79 bankable projects at different stages of development that are ready for investment.

“These projects can be actualised through Public Private Partnerships, joint ventures, private or public arrangements, and some are Greenfield, brownfield or expansion projects. Our partners therefore have a wide variety of investment options to pick from,” he said.

After the Expo, the investment body announced that more deals had been sealed.

Morrison Rwakakamba, the board chairman of Uganda Investment Authority said the deals were mostly in agro-processing, mining, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and industrial park development.

“The expo signifies Uganda’s commitment to private sector development and indicates renewed focus to further increase the promotion of Uganda’s abundant investment potential,” Rwakakamba said.

Officials said investment in Uganda is attractive because of the growing internal market of nearly 45 million, strategic location in the heart of Africa, with a combined market population of over 700 million in the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

With the country’s president being one of the top advocates of free continental trade, investing in Uganda would be a strategic idea.

Already Uganda has gazzetted 25 spots littered across the country to set up industrial parks. Some of the industrial parks are already operating in the central and eastern part of Uganda.

The country is also constructing border markets to facilitate quick trade with neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

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