Business and Finance
The Agha Khan Economic Planning Board Opportunity Africa
The Agha Khan Economic Planning Board hosted an international conference entitled “Opportunity Africa” at the Ismaili Centre in London over the weekend of 12th -13th November 2011.
The aim of the conference was to highlight opportunities in Eastern Africa with a key focus on a handful of countries including Uganda. The conference focused on business, investment and employment opportunities in the sectors of hospitality/leisure, agriculture, real estate and manufacturing industries.
The Uganda High Commission in India, H.E Nimisha Madhvani cautiously advised investors to practice the 3 Ps; Patience, Preserves and Perseverance. She said that the “World Bank is still lacking confidence in East Africa but between ourselves, we can give confidence to the World Bank to lend money for infrastructure projects”.
H.E Joan Rwabyomere, High Commissioner of Uganda to the UK said that Uganda has opportunities in coffee, seed and cotton. A modernising drive, investment in agricultural storage and irrigation to minimise post-harvest losses and reliance on rain was urgently needed. Other sectors she mentioned were banking and financial industry; oil and gas and new and renewable energy sources; health and education and infrastructure.
Uganda’s housing sector presents a lucrative business and investment niche as well as the commercial and residential construction market. Other sectors to consider are telecommunication, tourism, fish farming and processing, chemicals used for value addition in the fishing sector ect.
The bureaucracy and cost of establishing a business in Uganda has been minimised and a One-Stop shop is in place where prospective investors can register a business within 3 days with no bottlenecks.
H.E Joan Rwabyomere ensured investors that Uganda is stable with a liberalised economy and a government committed to the private sector as a potential for growth. Uganda allows total repatriation of funds as one of the incentives given to investors and has a scheme to lease land for interested parties.
The Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK H.E. Ernest Rwamucyo reiterated that Rwanda has a 0% tolerance on corruption. It has also abolished the need of work permits for East Africa nationals moving to work in Rwanda and this presents a good opportunity for skilled labour force. The High Commissioner also spoke of the Rwandan Embassy One-Stop shop which hosts an online business registration, and assured that the Embassy can allocate someone to accompany an investor to Rwanda as he begins his business journey. “Multiple-citizenship is in place and this is easily accessible” H.E Rwamucyo stressed.