PM Nabbanja sweet talks Arab investors as Uganda-UAE business summit gets underway

Uganda’s Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has told entrepreneurs from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that the east African country is the safest investment destination with maximum returns in the region.

Nabbanja was on Tuesday opening the second Uganda-UAE investment summit in Kampala when she said Uganda was the only country in the region, which allows foreign investors to repatriate their profits as and when they want.

“It is my honour to officiate at this very important function because it offers a platform for us to pull synergies together to increase Uganda’s export competitiveness, attract more foreign direct investments, tourism promotion and jointly address the challenges of doing business between our two countries and propose the best way forward,” the jolly Prime Minister said.

She said the country had transformed its diplomatic missions into tools for mobilising resources through promoting exports and import substitution by increasing Foreign Direct Investment.

“In 2014, the ministry of foreign affairs piloted eight Missions to implement Commercial and Economic Diplomacy, placing the latter as a top priority in the implementation of Uganda’s Foreign Policy,” Nabbanja said.

As a result of the above policy, Nabbanja said, the country’s exports have greatly improved.

“A look at the trade between Uganda and UAE alone reveals that exports from Uganda increased to $1.84 billion in 2022 from $2 million in 1990,” she added.  

Nabbanja requested the more than 30 company representatives and several government officials from UAE to help get more Ugandan products into their home markets.

She also called for the establishment of Joint Permanent Commissions (JPCs) and Joint Economic Commissions (JECs)

“These above frameworks are the principal fora for strengthening and reviewing bilateral relations between countries in all fields under the three clusters of; Political, Economic and Social matters,” Nabbanja said.

“I hope that the two countries will consider the possibility of joint negotiations for Market Access at major International Trade Agencies. This will strengthen our negotiation power,” she added.

She challenged the local manufacturers to improve their products in terms of quality and quantity to international standards.

Uganda Investment Authority Director General Robert Mukiza said: “Uganda’s resilience shines through. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, FDI inflows have consistently risen. Join the success journey fuelled by stability, business-friendly policies, and regional prominence.”

He also informed the visitors that Uganda’s GDP was set to soar with a 6.2% forecast for 2023. “It’s a land of economic opportunities waiting to be explored,” he added.

“With a GDP exceeding $40.43 billion, Uganda stands as East Africa’s most rapidly advancing economy. Seize the chance to be a part of this extraordinary growth journey,” the official said.

Uganda best investment destination in eastern Africa

Recently in May, Uganda was recognised and awarded as the best investment destination in East Africa.

This was during the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2023 held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The AIM 2023 was held under the theme, The Investment Paradigm Shift: Future Investment Opportunities to Foster Sustainable Economic Growth, Diversity, and Prosperity.

AIM is a leading platform for investors in the world and over 170 countries took part in the global investment meeting and exhibition where Uganda also set up a pavilion.

Why Uganda won the gold medal

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 Yoweri Museveni being one of the top advocates of free continental trade, investing in Uganda would be a strategic idea.

Already Uganda has gazetted 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.

Uganda has recently been taking part in various global expos aimed at marketing the country’s potential.

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