By Nancy Emily Nagujja
Online Content Officer ARC
Uganda’s participation at the Dubai Expo 2020 marks the beginning of Uganda’s trade and business connections with the international market. Uganda is one of the 190 countries that participated in the Dubai Expo 2020. Uganda’s journey of participation has surely been a remarkable experience for the country and has paved way for various business connections and opportunities it opened for the business people of Uganda. The Republic Of Uganda extends its sincere appreciation towards the Government of the United Arab Emirates, the Expo 2020 Dubai management and participants, partners and visitors for their input towards this 6 month journey of participation in the Expo. Uganda’s participation was courtesy of The Uganda Export Promotion Board, Private Sector, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda Tourism Board and others, backed by the Government of Uganda. “UGANDA-THE RIGHT PLACE, THE RIGHT TIME.”
Uganda sealed off its participation with the 2nd Uganda Tourism, Trade and Invest Forum at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai which was attended by several sector players, Ministry representatives, and agencies that were at the heart of organizing Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo 2020. Amidst the last days of the Expo 2020, Uganda’s pavilion at the Expo increased as Uganda told its story and exhibited its different sectors like agriculture, Trade and others opening numerous opportunities for Uganda. The Prime Minister of Uganda Hon. Robinah Nabbanja said, “To the people of Uganda, I have been to the Uganda Pavilion at the Dubai Expo, I think these people have done a great job and I commend that Uganda has done its best, we are attracting investors and are now talking in terms of Tourism, we want as many tourists to come to Uganda. We have also got a number of companies that have picked interest in our Tourism sector who intend to invest in Uganda, in the agro processing and also the transport sector.”
Hon. Oryem Okello, State Minister Foreign Affairs highlighted that Uganda-UAE Trade Transactions hits $1.850 billion in the last 6 years as he was speaking at the 2nd Uganda Tourism, Trade and Investment Forum held at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai. Uganda has earned $468 million in 2016. During the event, Uganda attracted potential Arab Investors and the business community from the Middle East. Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo has strengthened Uganda’s relationship with UAE among the signing of the numerous bilateral agreements with the UAE including : The Labor Export Agreement, Agricultural Co-operation Agreement, Agricultural Co-operation Agreement, Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and The Production of Investment Agreement. Uganda will be able to refine its oil by 2027. “Uganda’s major exports to UAE are: gold, vegetables, fresh fruits like passion fruits and avocado. The Government does not do a lot of imports, but companies and individuals buy a lot of pharmaceutical products and other items for supermarkets and shops,” He said.
The Ambassador of Uganda to UAE, H.E Kibedi urged Ugandans to continue promoting Ugandan products in the UAE and the Middle East Region. This year’s theme was “Connecting minds and creating the future” aiming to inspire the expo visitors. “The Expo provided a platform to foster creativity, innovation and partnership globally,” He said.
Mr. Rwakakamba Morrison, The Chairman Uganda Investment Authority in his remarks during the 2nd Uganda Trade and Investment Forum said The Expo signifies Uganda’s commitment to Private Sector development, and indicates the renewed focus to further increase the promotion of Uganda’s abundant investment potential. Uganda Investment Authority and The Government of Uganda represented by the Uganda Embassy has concluded investments worth USD 2 Billion. “Investment in Uganda is attractive because of the growing internal market of nearly 45 million people strategically located in the heart of Africa with a combined population of over 700 million people in the East African Community and the COMESA region,” He said. The Expo 2020, Dubai signifies Uganda’s commitment to Private Sector development and indicates the renewed focus for further increased promotion of Uganda’s investment opportunities.
Investments have targeted the following sectors: Agriculture specifically agro-processing, Mining (Gold and other minerals), Renewable energy, Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Parks development. Valuable investors begin their journey by applying for and being issued with an investment license. Through this license, investors gain access to incentives to assist them commence operations in the country. They include the provision of land in serviced industrial parks, generous and competitive tax incentives and coordinated institutional support from over 13 government agencies at UIA’s one stop Center. “In the coming months, UIA will remain focused to meeting our target of USD 5 Billion in the new Investments,” He added. Uganda recently signed over USD 10 Billion worth of investment destination in the world. Uganda is the right place and this is the right time to invest. Uganda is an open economy, where all sectors are liberalized for investment, investors are free to bring into the country capital and can wholly or jointly own investment projects. Uganda is enriched with a competitive tax incentive regime. The key incentives include: The 10 year tax holiday for investor’s Agricultural sector (both commercial and value addition sector), the developers and operators in the Industrial Parks, manufacturers who export 80% of their production outside the domestic market (i.e. outside the East African Community market). Import duty exemptions on plant and machinery, free land for investors in Industrial Parks that now span over 12 Square miles. 100% allowable expenditures on training, 100% allowable expenditure in research and development, Uganda is fully peaceful and secure border to border. Uganda is guided by the Triple bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet.
“UAE entered a partnership with Uganda because of the people and the good relationship with the government,” Mr. Abdul Monem Almarzooqi, Head of DMCC and Agricultural Advisor for the President of UAE said. He highlighted what Uganda needs to increase Trade with UAE
“We are here to represent Uganda as a destination,” Ms. Lilly Ajarova CEO Uganda Tourism Board said. The Preciousness of Africa is to do with our future. Uganda has a very young population and the future of the word lies in the hands of Africa. Africa is a beautiful continent with a diverse natural heritage starting with the landscape, diverse agriculture, wildlife and many more. Uganda as The Pearl of Africa, offers value for money.
Uganda sealed off its participation with the 2nd Uganda Trade and Tourism Investment Forum followed by visits of foreigners to the Ugandan Pavilion. Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo 2020 has truly been a fruitful one.