President Yoweri Museveni has said investors are the new Kings in Africa and that Uganda will consider creating a company that specializes in linking investors with government to avoid the current bureaucracy in government institutions.
The President, who was addressing the Uganda – China Business Forum held in Beijing, China under the theme: Fostering Uganda China Economic Cooperation, at the Daioyutai State Guest House Auditorium, was responding to claims by Chinese Business Community that the bureaucracy slows down the licensing process for their businesses.
The President said for any economy to grow, it needs entrepreneurs who start and grow businesses in all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, services, ICT and who produce goods and services that solve people’s problems. He said these, coupled with the consumers who buy what is produced and the governments that ensure peace and stability for life and property and a conducive atmosphere for business, are important stimuli.
“If we start working together now, we will support each other’s prosperity, create wealth and jobs for our people and expand our tax base,” he said.
The President, who responded to various issues by Chinese prospective investors, said Uganda and Africa are faced with market fragmentation which was one of the biggest challenges that made the continent lag behind.
Other bottlenecks, including lack of education, lack of infrastructure such as roads, electricity railway, ICT etc, drove the cost of doing business up.
“East Africa is now addressing this. We are building a modern railway-line from the ocean to the inland. The other challenge was interfering with the private sector. We corrected this and the economy of Uganda is now growing at 6 – 7 percent in spite of not having adequate infrastructure. You can bring in your money and take it out freely. The currency is convertible,” the President said.
The President told the Chinese investors that Uganda has access to the US, EU, India and China markets quota and tax free for 440 products and said by investing in Uganda, they would have access to huge markets regionally and internationally.
The President, who described investors as new Kings in Africa, said there are civil servants and politicians who still believe they are important even when they produce nothing.
“In Uganda, we are making it clear that investors are Kings. Uganda has a strong agriculture sector and is a big producer of coffee, bananas, etc all of which need value addition. Our problem is agro- processing,” he said.
Uganda’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Charles Wagidoso, said majority of the leaders in commerce and industry in China have an eye on investment and market opportunities in Africa and Uganda in particular and that the Uganda Embassy is trying to avail them with as much information as possible about investments opportunities in Uganda.