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London Dispatch | Uganda Convention UK 2016 Post Convention Report.

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Posted October 13, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in UK Convention 2016 ~ 1,690 views

     

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The Sixth annual Uganda UK Convention 2016, held at the Troxy in London, UK on the 10th September 2016 was an overwhelming success! See digital report below http://www.ugandanconventionuk.org/2016_convention_report.pdf

This year’s programme addressed the essential need-to-know topics most prevalent to Uganda, such as opportunities within the priority sectors; Infrastructure development, Power & Energy, Health-care, Agriculture & Agri-business, Real Estate, tourism, increasing intra-regional trade and developing risk mitigation strategies through collaborations and Private equity, and VC finance access.

Women and youth entrepreneurship and empowerment were taken into consideration as cross-cutting issues in the discussion of all the areas mentioned above.

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Some of the high profile speakers included: Rt Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, His Highness, David Onen Acana II, Acholi Paramount Chief, Lord Sheikh, HE Joyce Kikafunda, Hon. Jaffer Kapasi OBE, Mr Amin Mawji OBE, Hon. Winnie Kiiza, Pastor Jessica Kayanja, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal, and former Presidential candidate Retired Col. Kiiza Besigye and Lord Dolar Popat, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda and Members of Parliament.

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The Chairman, also founder of the Uganda Convention, highlighted some of the and impact of the Convention since its inception in 2010, disclosing that 3475 delegates had so far attended the Convention; more than 90 Ugandans relocated to Uganda, 31 companies from Uganda had showcased their services and 67 UK companies including SME by Diaspora had also exhibited at the Conventions. On record over 7 companies were in the process of investing or had already invested in Uganda, for example Signature Group which signed an MOU with the government to build over 10,000 homes for the police.

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Some of the charitable achievements included; two (2) tractors donated by a delegate at the 3rd Convention to the First Lady, and money donated by the Nagrecha’s to refurbish a primary school in Ntugamo, with over 50 disadvantaged disabled students benefiting from the Convention.

Recently at the Health Forum inspired and co-founded by the Convention Lord Popat donated $100,000 towards a hospital in Busore-Busoga.

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Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, appealed to delegates that, Uganda needs to be marketed as much as possible since some people around the world still associate Uganda with the era of Idi Amin and don’t know about its current potential in trade and tourism. Rt Hon said, in the recent years, Uganda has been voted as the leading investment destination within the East African region by various agencies.

Rt Hon said that professionals are needed back home; Doctors, nurses, health professionals, engineers etc. The Parliament, has been pushing for better remuneration of our professionals – especially teachers and health practitioners. Uganda must stop exporting health workers while thousands of Ugandans are dying daily and work toward retention of these very key professionals, she added.

Some of the good news on the day were disclosed by Amin Mawji OBE, Diplomatic Representative, Aga Khan Development Network, he revealed that the Aga Khan is investing in a major world class teaching hospital in Kampala where those living in and travelling to Uganda will be able to access the same health services as those in India, Kenya and the West.

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Lord Dolar Popat, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda, revealed that, during his visit to Rwanda, they reached an agreement in principle to start direct flights from Kigali to London, via Entebbe. This was his number one aim as Trade Envoy and it would make a huge difference to increasing trade with East Africa; dramatically cutting the time to get to both countries.

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He disclosed that during his conversations with President Museveni, he agreed to host the summit in Kampala in 2017, which would be a perfect opportunity to showcase Uganda and its economic opportunities to British businesses. Lord Popat would be leading a very large delegation to next year’s summit.

Reflecting on the shift to a more pro-active approach by the UK Government to Uganda, he informed the delegates that they had now broadened their range of products to ensure that UK companies remained competitive and responded to increasing development and infrastructure needs in Uganda. This was a game changer, meaning that the current annual country covers for Uganda had been increased from £100m to £500m. This would allow them to support major projects in Uganda as well as smaller ones, and also a number of large projects were also under consideration.

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His Royal Highness Onen David Acana II, Acholi Paramount Chief stated that over the years Acholi had been in the news all over for the wrong reasons. The conflict that characterised the 1980’s, 90’s and part of 2000 closed out this potentially rich region from engaging meaningfully in trade and investment opportunities using its resources. He said that the situation had changed and Acholiland was slowly opening up and getting positioned as a key player in trade and investment in Uganda.

Henry Ngabirano, Managing Director, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, said that Uganda had come up with a national strategy to make its position in the coffee global economy after realizing that the best value in value chain was brand. The new coffee drive was motivated by the fact that in the next five years the market would require 50-60m bags and Uganda was best placed to be a big player. The Big boys like Brazil and Vietnam had maximum production levels and exhausted growth avenues. This was a great indication for investment opportunities.

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Dr. Kizza Besigye, former President, Forum For Democratic Change confirmed what others before him had said, that truly Uganda was the best country an investor could come to and he continued to stress the point the description of the “Pearl of Africa” made by Sir Winston Churchill which was something that was deserved and an honest observation by him. He said that he had been at different countries and five continents but Uganda was a truly unique country that one could find endowed with natural resources and great and wonderful people.

However, he maintained that Uganda required strong institutions in order for investment to make sense.

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Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, Minister of State Minister for Tourism, disclosed that the Ministry was giving out concessions to construct lodges and guest houses within the ten national parks to fill the accommodation deficit. He further said that the government was planning to construct national stop-over for tourist along all motor-ways leading to national parks, these would be done at every 100 miles.

The government was also embarking on domestic tourism, a move to boost domestic tourism, the campaign would be a monthly touring programme, which would also be coupled by another programme called “Home Stay”, this was intended to reduce on wildlife human conflict, and in turn it would help residents within the national park perimeter to house tourists and earn a living. The government would help them to improve on their housing facilities.

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Hon. Michael Werikhe Kafabusa, Minister of State for Trade and industry. He said that Uganda was a member of the East African Community, COMESA and SADC and the Tripartite Zone. This was a big market of over 590 million people which an investor can tap into directly or indirectly through Uganda. Uganda development corporation was being re-capitalised with 500 billion Ug Shs. to help people who intended to invest in the country and needed to access finance from Uganda.

Hon. Byaruhanga reported that the government was working on establishing a desk at the Entebbe airport, fast tracking Ugandans from the Diaspora visiting and leaving the country.
He also added that the government was looking at changing the ways Diasporas registers their vehicles from the blue number plate which compromises Diaspora security to robbers and thieves who follow them home and rob them.

During the second of the convention at the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Sheikh one of the issues raised by members of Uganda parliament included; the difficulty of acquiring United Kingdom Visa ­ The Lord Popat asked the delegation to write to him officially and raise the concern. He promised to follow up the matter with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lord Popat informed their counterparts that the break way was the better solution for Britain since it gave her independence and the ability to make her own decisions unlike when she was still under EU i.e. Britain would be at liberty to do business with whomever she choose unlike before where collective responsibility was required and that one of the prospects for Britain was reviving its relations with Africa at her own terms and conditions.

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Other issues of concern were; Ease of doing business; the concern was that there were many procedures and processes involved in making investments in Uganda which slowed and discouraged would be investors; Bureaucracy; slowness in decision making process by the responsible authorities which frustrated would be investors; Corruption; this vice could not be tolerated by the British people who wanted transparency at every stage.

Finally, at the house of Lords, a Way forward was agreed that:
• On investment, it was noted that there was a need for closer ties and relations between the two Parliaments. To achieve this desire of building close ties Sir William the Chairman of African Parliament Group (APG) informed the Members from Uganda that they could arrange for meetings through the British Embassy in Uganda, they should also use the avenue of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as well as Inter Parliamentary Union
• Uganda to use the opportunity of the available trade opportunities to revive Uganda airline.
• Establish a Joint Parliamentary group composed of both Parliaments through the Lord Sheikh for future discussions.
• Sir William and Hon. Cecilia expressed the need for a delegation of Members of Parliament from both Parliaments to visit each other’s Parliament.

See complete convention photo gallery here — http://www.ugandanconventionuk.org/2016-conventions-conference-gallery/

Source — UK Convention Chair — Mr. Willy Mutenza!


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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