President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda has called on Qatari businessmen to take advantage of the investment opportunities in his country, in light of the good indicators and attracting atmosphere in both countries in a way that helps promote joint trade cooperation.
Speaking during a meeting with Qatari businessmen from the Qatar Chamber and the Qatar Businessmen Association this evening, the Ugandan President said that his country is planning to open a tourism investment office in Doha soon to introduce investment opportunities in Uganda and facilitate trade exchange between Doha and Kampala.
The Ugandan President said that his country enjoys an attractive environment for investments, Uganda has an appropriate legislative and tax environment, as well as providing all facilities for the establishment of various projects that benefit both his country and the investor.
He pointed out that there is an official liaison office to serve those wishing to invest in Uganda by providing them with all the facilities that enable them to carry out their investment activities in Uganda within three days only. He stressed the importance of enhancing trade exchange between the Arab Gulf states and the African countries, especially as the two sides need to cooperate in many fields, the most important of which is the marketing of goods.
The African market is large and is growing and enjoys a large population, and is expected to reach by the next 20 years 2.5 billion people, which requires large investments to meet the growing needs of these people, President Museveni added .
The Ugandan president said that his country is considered a station for many important markets not only in the African continent but also in international markets. The investor in Uganda can target the large market such as the East African market, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa making an access global markets as well .
He said that the investor could also benefit from Uganda’s advantages in its ability to export 6,000 Ugandan products to the United States market without any tax, and export all Ugandan products other than arms to the European Union and 440 tax-free Ugandan products that are exported to the Chinese market, and there are negotiations to send Ugandan products to the Indian market, he added.
He pointed out that Uganda is an agricultural country in the sense of the word, but it needs investors who have expertise in the field of food packaging industry. This is an opportunity for Qatari businessmen who have desire to enter this opportunity. There are also many opportunities in the fields of mining and oil exploration, Islamic banking, as well as tourism, where Uganda has been classified as the best destination for travel, he said.
For his part, Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Tawar, Vice President of Qatar Chamber praised the Ugandan side keenness to meet with Qatari businessmen to discuss ways and means of strengthening relations of cooperation between the two countries and expressed the hope that the visit of the Ugandan side would achieve its objectives in strengthening the joint cooperation with the State of Qatar and the Qatari businessmen.
He stressed that the State of Qatar attaches great importance to strengthening trade and investment relations with the African countries in general and Uganda in particular, stressing the need to enhance the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, which amounted to about QR 18.5 million in 2015, hoping that the next stage would witness a greater growth in the volume of trade.
He pointed out that in light of the economic development that Uganda seeks to achieve, there are many opportunities for cooperation and exchange of experiences and joint investments with various investors and Qatari companies in many sectors, citing Uganda’s natural resources, especially in agriculture and food industries , which opens the door for the establishment of alliances and partnerships between the two sides in this vital area, which serves the objectives of the State of Qatar in achieving food security.
The Vice-President of the Qatar Chamber stated that Uganda’s geographical location makes it a gateway to all neighboring African markets. Uganda is a strategic country in Eastern Africa and had several agreements with neighboring countries, which meant that exports could reach more countries through Uganda , and thus opening up new export markets for Qatari commodities. It also provides an opportunity for greater cooperation between Qatari and Ugandan businessmen to establish joint ventures that serve the economies of both countries.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting between the Ugandan president and a number of Qatari businessmen from Qatar Chamber and Qatari Businessmen Association, Ugandan Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija said a Ugandan tourism investment bureau will open in Qatar in July.
He highlighted the importance of the Ugandan president’s visit to Qatar, which resulted in the signing of four memoranda of understanding between the two sides, including ones on trade cooperation and the protection of investments. Other agreements are also set to be signed in other fields.
Despite not being an oil-producing country, the minister said, Uganda has large oil reserves, adding that his country is currently working to attain licenses to establish a refinery for domestic oil so that it can start production, which is expected to commence by 2020.
The minister said there are more oil wells yet to be discovered, adding that Uganda is aiming to pave the way for oil exploration companies to explore for new oil wells, in addition to starting pipeline projects to export oil to neighboring countries and the East African market.
Kasaija added that a national Ugandan company will be in charge of all oil-related issues, noting that his country welcomes all interested companies in investing in the oil exploration and production field. He highlighted the ease of the mechanism of investment in his country, saying that investments can start with sums as low as $100,000. Once an investor presents a project and shows seriousness to Uganda Investment Authority, they can start working within three days.
The Ugandan minister of finance welcomed the idea of holding a Qatari-Ugandan business forum, stressing that, upon his return to Uganda, he will encourage the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to reach out to the Qatari side in order to organize the forum.