The Uganda–UK Business Forum 2019, organised by Uganda High Commission, London in conjunction with Uganda’s Honorary Consul to the Midlands, was held at College Court Hotel, Leicester on 30 May 2019.
The Business Forum, under the theme ‘Partnering for Development: Trade and Investment Opportunities’, brought together over 100 business executives, representatives of companies and firms interested in doing business as well as investing in Uganda.
In his Keynote address, Uganda’s High Commissioner to UK, Ambassador Julius Peter Moto, underscored the importance of strengthening mutually beneficial commercial and economic ties between Uganda and United Kingdom.
Mr. Moto, highlighted numerous opportunities for trade and investment in various sectors especially agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure, mining and minerals, tourism, oil & gas, ICT, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
Ambassador Moto, too, outlined the initiatives and incentives government has put in place with focus on making Uganda a more business friendly country, attracting Foreign Direct Investment, increasing taxable income, creating jobs and positioning Uganda companies to take up export opportunities.
The High Commissioner called upon the UK business community to seize the opportunities by investing in Uganda which has “high returns and is strategically located” “with access to a big East Africa Community (EAC) and wider COMESA market of nearly 600 million people”.
The Business Forum was also addressed by the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda, Lord Popat Dolar, who reiterated his commitment to continue encouraging UK companies to invest in The Pearl of Africa.
“Uganda is a fantastic market for trade and investment,” Lord Popat says.
He said that he would be leading a delegation to Uganda in June 2019 comprising 12 UK companies including Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose, some of the top supermarket chains, to explore opportunities available for Uganda to increase export of products to UK.
Lord Popat noted that UK was funding a £48 million agribusiness programme aimed at increasing productivity and expanding market access for farmers in northern Uganda.
He observed that “with anticipated resumption of direct flights between Entebbe and London by Uganda Airlines around 2021, exports and tourism would be boosted”.
The presenters at the Business Forum also included the outgoing CEO of Uganda National Oil Company, Eng. Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo, and Mr. Clovis Irumba, Manager Operations and Compliance, Petroleum Authority of Uganda who provided updates on the oil and gas sector in Uganda and highlighted opportunities for investment.
The Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Mr. Gideon Badagawa, outlined the various reforms Uganda is undertaking to improve the ease of doing business.
Other presenters and discussants included Prof. Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice Chancelleor University of Leicester; Mr. Jaffer Kapasi, Honorary Consul to the Midlands; Mr. Paul Levy, Commercial Manager, Africa Merchant Capital; Mr. Shahid Sheikh, Managing Director, Clifton Packaging; Mr. David Smith, Chairman, British Africa Business Association and Mr. James Hopkins, CEO of ASSEY RISK.