UAE Investors to Scale up Investment in Uganda’s ICT, Tourism Sectors

by Christopher Kiiza
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors are poised to significantly increase their investments in Uganda’s diverse economic sectors, spanning ICT, tourism, agriculture, healthcare and industrial development among others.

The investors say Uganda’s potential in technology, vibrant tourism destinations, fertile agricultural lands, and growing industrial base, present a promising and multifaceted investment landscape for UAE investors

Uganda is hosting a four-day Business Forum with UAE dubbed Uganda-UAE Business Forum, an annual event aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investment, promoting Uganda’s exports in UAE, promotion of tourism, attraction of technology transfers, projecting a positive image of Uganda and mobilising the Ugandan Diaspora in the UAE for development.

Speaking at the Forum in Kampala on Wednesday, Rashed Abdulkarim AlBlooshi, the Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development praised Uganda for its geographical location, saying its a gateway to African continental markets.

“Uganda is not only a gateway to the Great Lakes Region, we can use it as a gateway to the whole of Africa,” he said.

Abdulkarim highlighted a number of sectors, including; tourism, agriculture and technology among others that UAE investors aim to focus their investment in.

“The sectors that we believe will have a bigger impact are the financial services, agriculture, tourism, ICT, healthcare, biopharmaceutical, and industrial,” he said.

Overview of Uganda – UAE Trade and Investment

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from UAE to Uganda increased from $300 Million in 2018 to approximately $3 Billion in 2023.

Uganda exported goods and services to UAE worth US$ 562 Million in 2020, which increased to US$ 1 Billion in 2021.

Uganda imported goods and services from UAE worth US$ 495 Million in 2020, which increased to US$ 810 Million in 2021.

The substantial increase in Foreign Direct Investment signifies improved economic ties and trust between the two nations, fostering diplomatic and trade relations. This substantial FDI can stimulate Uganda’s economic growth, create jobs, and enhance infrastructure development, ultimately boosting the country’s overall prosperity.

Similarly, the increase in export of Ugandan goods to UAE demonstrates a positive trend for Uganda. It signifies growing demand for Ugandan goods and services in the UAE market which in turn can potentially lead to increased revenues for Ugandan businesses and a reduction in trade deficits.

President Yoweri Museveni called on UAE investors to also tap into areas that are ripe for investment such as the automobile industry, agro processing, mining, and textiles services.

Museveni also said the gold phosphates for manufacture of fertilisers, aluminium, Iithium for production of electric cars, which Uganda is already manufacturing, are all catalysts for making huge profits by investors.

“We are going to produce our solar batteries or lithium batteries for our electric cars which we are already making here,” he said.

Museveni told UAE investors that the consolidation of the two countries’ will provide a huge market for UAE goods, considering Uganda’s trade agreements with big global markets.

“We have negotiated with the United States for what we call AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act), and we have trade arrangements with China and with the European Union. Therefore, you have the internal market, you have the regional market, you have the continental market and you have got the third party markets,” Museveni told UAE investors.

The president assured them of a peaceful and conducive environment to do business.

‘Uganda has everything, there is nothing on earth which we do not have here; the minerals, the foods, fruits, among others. The country is very peaceful because we built a strong system and we have this huge market of Africa even before we go to other parts of the world, so it is a win-win situation for UAE and Uganda,” Museveni said.

“For us here, we have our advantages, our forests have medicines and foods which most people in other parts of the world do not know exist. Originally, we were using these medicines in the traditional way but our children who studied science have now transformed them,” he added.

Museveni also called upon the private sector to collaborate with scientists in advancing research and innovations to boost economic growth.

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