The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has asked Ugandans living in North America to invest in Uganda’s housing and tourism industry in order to improve the country’s economy.
“We have a shortage of housing, please consider investing in this sector,” said Kadaga at the start of the 28th Uganda North American Association Convention 2016.
The annual Convention was being held at the Boston Park Plaza, Boston in Massachusetts, which hosts the largest Ugandan community in North America.
The UNAA brings together Ugandans living and working in the US and Canada. This year’s Convention was being held under the theme: ‘United to Empower Women’.
The 2014 Uganda population and health survey showed high numbers of households living in rented homes; with the figure increasing from 15 percent in 2002 to 21 percent in 2014.
Fifty-six percent of Uganda’s population was found to be living in houses with temporary wall material, while 30 percent of Uganda’s 7.4 million households live in houses roofed with temporary materials including grass or dry banana fibres.
“Invest in the tourism sector, which is the best in the region. A lot is going on in the country and we hope that by 2020, the standard of living will be better for the citizens,” she said.
Kadaga assured Ugandans living and working in North America that the country is stable and that following general elections held in February this year, the entire government was fully constituted, with the central and local governments in place.
She thanked the diaspora for their contribution to the economy through sending home foreign currency.
Kadaga said that government was doing a lot to facilitate the movement of both goods and services, both internally and across borders in the region.
She cited the ongoing construction of the Entebbe express highway and the Standard Gauge Railway intended to ease the movement of goods and services within the region.
“We have a dream of having Uganda Airlines back. We are producing 850 MW of power everyday; and a lot is being done to facilitate the movement of goods and services,” she said.
During a panel discussion at the Forum, Dennis Matanda asked what the Speaker would do to take the message of availability of US markets to Ugandan products through the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Kadaga said that she had met the US Ambassador to Uganda before flying out for the Convention and that they had discussed and agreed to train MPs about the need to standardize Uganda made products.
“Government is interested in AGOA. We have discussed how to work with people to identify crafts to sell to the American market. By this time next year, we shall have success stories (through AGOA),” said Kadaga.
Uganda’s Ambassador to the US, H.E. Oliver Wonekha, said government appreciated the contribution of the diaspora and had sent a big delegation to the Convention demonstrating the need to engage with the group for the good of the country.
Uganda’s delegation to the 28th UNAA Convention includes the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, ministers and Members of Parliament.