The Republic of Uganda on Thursday kickstarted a three-day roadshow in Chennai to attract investments and trigger large-scale industrialisation in the African country.
Showcasing investment opportunities for India in Uganda’s growing economy, the first day of the roadshow was moderated by Grace Akello, High Commissioner of Uganda to India, and had sessions on accelerating industrialisation, SME sector development/ growth in Uganda, learning from India’s SME sector, Uganda’s tax regime for foreign investors, opportunities in the country’s free zones, its gas & oil sector and mining & minerals, among others.
The roadshow, being hosted by the Uganda High Commission, New Delhi, in collaboration with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will also have sessions on investment, trade, tourism, culture, technology transfer and human development over the next the two days.
Mwebesa Francis, minister for trade, industry and cooperatives, Uganda, said in a presentation that the African country and India have enjoyed a cordial bilateral relationship since India established a diplomatic presence in Uganda in 1965.
At present, more than 26,000 Indians are living in Uganda, running businesses and making investments. Investments from India are mainly in the areas of pharmaceutical manufacturing, agro-processing, construction, cement manufacturing, steel mills, banking, information communication technology, hospitality industry and education services.
The minister said there are still plenty of investment opportunities in the country, including through partnerships with the Ugandan government or private sector. The economy is well-regulated and highly liberalised, with all sectors open for investment, Francis said.
Martin Muhangi of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) said in a presentation the country is seeking investments in agriculture, agro-processing, mining and mineral processing, infrastructure and services.
In the agriculture sector, it is offering incentives such as 10 years of income tax exemption for agro-processors operating in industrial parks, free zones (export-oriented), and zero import duty on import of plant and machinery for use in agro-processing. Almost all agricultural inputs are exempt from import duty, he said.
In the manufacturing sector, it offers 10 years of income tax exemption for exporters of finished consumer and capital goods (80% of production) outside the domestic market, VAT deferment on plant and machinery on import, and zero import duty on plant and machinery.
Under mining, Uganda will offer opportunities in redevelopment of copper and cobalt mines, iron and steel processing, uranium and lime stone mining, and phosphate processing plants.
UIA said in the infrastructure and services, investment opportunities are available in industrial parks, free special economic zones, ICT parks (incubation centres, BPO and innovation centres), upcountry airports (upgrading) and bridges to facilitate cross-border trade.
Development of water transport and establishment of vocational training institutes, hospitals, pharma manufacturing plants and luxury accommodation in tourist areas, are some of the opportunities Indian investors can look for in Uganda, it said.
Akello said her country is starting from the scratch and needs investment for the industrialisation process. Uganda is rich with fertile land and mineral deposits along with oil and gas exploration opportunities, she said.