Uganda offers Indian business gateway to East Africa
Uganda is seeking Indian investments and expertise in expanding its industrial base and is ready to provide India Inc. a gateway to the 150 million people-strong East Africa market.
"Our government is inviting Indian investors into Uganda and we would very much like them to come and see what they can do there," Uganda's Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister Maria Kiwanuka told IANS.
"On our part, we recommend areas like agro-processing, setting up of petroleum industries, participation in transport sectors," the minister said on the sidelines of the 10th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-Exim Bank conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership here.
"We would also like to see Indian participation in our power sector. We have several hydro, gas and geo-thermal projects coming up. We would also like Indian companies to come into the ICT (Information and communications technology) sector," she added.
According to Kiwanuka, Uganda provides opportunity for Indian companies to seek entry into East African markets.
"Uganda has a completely open economy on capital account and current account, which means you can bring your money in and out. Apart from this, we are also part of the East Africa Common Market whereby anything being produced in Uganda automatically has access to the 150 million-strong East African markets."
Uganda is member of the East African Community (EAC), which is the regional intergovernmental organisation of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
In 2010, the EAC launched its own common market for goods, labour and capital within the region.
Kiwanuka added that Uganda's liberal and stable government set-up is another attraction for Indian investment.
Indian brands like Tata Motors, Airtel and Maruti Suzuki have made inroads into Uganda.
The minister said that Indian private sector could play a catalytic role in Uganda's agriculture sector and agri-business industry which requires expertise to convert raw material into value added goods.
Apart from recently found oil and gas reserves, the country also seeks Indian investments in exploring its huge reserves of non-oil minerals like cobalt, uranium, and graphite.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 11-03-2014)