Community, Diaspora and Immigration
The 2013 – 3rd Ugandan UK Convention, Another successful forum
A Trade & Investment Forum – Driving Economic Growth in Uganda
On September 14 2013, Ugandans in Diaspora successfully concluded their annual gathering in London, bringing together Ugandan politicians, business community, potential investors and technocrats.
The convention success measured both in numbers and in met objectives.
Hon. Edward Ssekandi reported government plans to be accountable for her people at home and in Diaspora, by establishing a separate department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a legal framework to support national strategy on Diaspora with the following key objectives:
- Promotion of duo-citizenship including visiting rights and participation in electoral processes
- Creation of platforms for Ugandans in Diaspora to participate in national development planning and policy formulation
- Economic opportunities including Diaspora forex accounts, access Diaspora banks, and purchase of Diaspora bonds
- Promotion of Diaspora rights and observation of the week
In response to previous conventions’ resolutions, Hon. Kadaga, in a message delivered by Hon. Mariam Nalubega reported that efforts were underway to appoint a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, scrapping of dual citizenship fees, and establishment of a separate desk in parliament to address Diaspora issues.
The Buganda Land Board and its investment company (BICUL) attended the occasion and graced it with financial support towards the exhibition – an indication of Buganda Kingdom support. Ssebuwufu (CEO BICUL), and Kyewalabye CEO Buganda Land Board cited openings in real estate market, and commercialization of natural resources as key investment opportunities.
Mr. Bitature Chairman (UIB) and CEO Simba Group clarified that Africa is not synonymous with turmoil citing cases of unrest even in UK. He stressed Africa’s numerous opportunities and directed participants’ attention to development of infrastructure as key to Africa’s development. He mentioned manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, logistics, ICT, energy, mining, petroleum; services industry including health, finance, education, and tourism as viable investment opportunities ready for economic exploitation citing the regressive cost trend of doing business in Uganda.
He presented a bigger picture by citing Uganda’s strategic link to a wider potential market of 130 million people, emphasized the importance of making economic ties throughout the region by joining economic blocs like COMESA, East African Community, and The Great Lakes Region thus creating a bigger market for potential investors.
Attributing Africa’s challenges to corruption, weak institutions, and leadership, he advised leaders to strengthen institutions and called for harmoniously working towards elimination of corruption to achieve development.
Lord Sheikh, a successful Ugandan Asian entrepreneur in UK, appealed to Ugandan Asians to invest in Uganda, repatriate resources and expertise greatly needed to develop Uganda. Advising them to desist from maintaining grudges against Ugandans’ and the government, he appealed to them to forget the past and Amin, and focus on the present and future of coming generations. He advised UK investors to utilize the British Embassy advisory staff in Kampala, for guidance on business opportunities success in Uganda.
Hon. Muloni, (Energy and Mineral Development) mentioned Uganda’s natural resources endowment that need transformation to add value. He particularly pointed out the existence of 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil intended to be refined to meet local needs, serve the East African market, and elsewhere in the world.
Hon. Sam Engola highlighted a shortfall for 1.2 million houses and invited investors to come and introduce modern affordable housing technology.
The UMA Executive Director, gave statistics of 75% of Uganda’s domestic consumption being imported, – an indicator of manufacturing sector opportunities. He further showed that existing factories produce a paltry 30%, leaving 70% to opportunity and advised collaboration with established companies to provide the best market entry strategy.
Janet Mukiibi of KATS Advocates (a recent returnee) encouraged members to return to Uganda and utilize their exposure and skills to explore the available opportunities.
Ambassador Sebulime encouraged members to form partnerships and take advantage of projects like dam construction whose products would be wholly bought by government.
Mr. Kamujugo (URA) attributed efficiency in improved service delivery (which has reduced the cost of doing business) to automation citing improved process of clearing merchandise.
Hon. Nekesa and Hon. Nalubega invited members to invest in mineral exploitation, commercialization of agriculture, and investment in renewable energy resources, and environmental preservation.
Dr. Allam advised members to desist from traditional practices, engage in modern agricultural practices, promoting technical change, and institution of quality control measures to meet international standards.
Hon. Nankabirwa highlighted government efforts to encourage local farmers by establishing cold rooms, hatcheries, infrastructure, and identifying progressive farmers connecting them to markets.
Finally, we sincerely appreciate Hon. Edward Ssekandi (Vice President), Mr. Bitature (UIB), Mr. Kamujugo, Mr. Ssebaggala (UMA), Hon. Aporu, Hon. Sam Engola, Hon. Nekesa, Honorable members of parliament, commissioners, ambassadors from Europe, moderators, community leaders, voluntary sector representatives, and our exhibitors for showcasing Uganda.
We appreciate the support and contribution of all volunteers, and all others, too many to mention for the encouragement and shared ideas that have made this meeting a great success.
Ugandan Uk Convention
A Trade & Investment Forum
Register for the 4th Convention:
Date: Sat. 13 Sept 2014
Venue: Troxy, 490 Commercial Rd, E1 0HX London UK
M: +447790 647 089