President Museveni has called upon South African investors to fully exploit Uganda’s untapped economic potential and thereafter invest in them immensely.
While officiating the Uganda- South Africa Trade and Investment Summit held at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo on Wednesday, Mr Museveni informed investors that Uganda has many untapped areas like the E-mobility which still need more investment like in areas of manufacturing lithium batteries where they can advantage of.
“We are building our own electric vehicles and we are also trying to come up with lithium car batteries. We shall make the batteries here so get me investors. We shall use our lithium batteries in our vehicles and export others,” he said.
He further rallied the investors to add value to Uganda’s raw materials such that the country can be able to build an independent, integrated, and self-sustaining economy.
“If we add value for example on coffee instead of getting USD2.5 per kilogram, we shall get USD40 per kilogram and when the economy of Uganda becomes much bigger, we shall all benefit,” he said adding,
“So I’m very glad that now in our small battle here, we are working together to solve this problem. That means more Ugandans who are outside the money economy will join the money economy,” he added,
Mr Museveni also commended his South African counterpart, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa for working towards strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries.
“There’s nothing that we don’t have ranging from Agriculture, minerals, forests, etc., so we have a very big potential, it is good that we link up as Africa and work together,” he said.
The two-day summit which attracted over 40 companies from South Africa was held under the theme: Accelerating Uganda- South Africa Trade and Investment.
Mr Museveni said that the summit was a crucial ground to link Uganda’s business potential with that of South Africa and therefore requested the South African companies operating in Uganda like MTN and Stanbic Bank to join the government’s efforts of helping all Ugandans to join the money economy in order to achieve the desired socio-economic transformation.
“You have heard that until recently, 68 percent of the population was out of the money economy. We had to bring in the army to distribute coffee seedlings for these people to join the money economy by growing coffee,” he said adding,
“Now the figures of the ones outside the money economy are now 39 percent and we want everybody to join the money economy. If all these join the money economy, will it not benefit the telecom industry? If all these people join the money economy, won’t they have more money in the bank?”
The President also witnessed the signing of MoUs between Uganda and several companies from South Africa.
In her speech, the State for Privatisation and Investment, Ms. Evelyn Anite commended President Museveni for creating a conducive environment for Ugandans to live in but also most importantly for businesses to thrive.
“Your Excellency, you led a delegation to South Africa recently where you made a call to MTN to have an investment and trade conference in Uganda Your Excellency, today MTN is walking the talk, it has brought on board 40 companies from South Africa.”
The SA investors who were represented by MTN Group chairman, Mr. Mcebisi Hubert Jonas asked the government to strive to reduce the cost of doing business, saying that such a move would strengthen the investment environment and ensure an enviable investment climate.
“This summit has been very successful. It has not been looking at deals only but also looking at the investment environment in Uganda and the continent at large,” he said
The summit was attended by other government dignitaries including. Envoys, technocrats, and the business community.