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THE 11TH UGANDA-UK TRADE AND INVESTMENT CONVENTION

Saturday, 11th September 2021

Opening remarks by H.E Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of Uganda to the UK and Ireland:
 
' The Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Woman MP, Kakumiro District, The Rt Hon Robinah Nabbanja;
' UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Uganda, DRC and Rwanda, Lord Dolar Popat;
' The Chairman of Uganda Convention UK, Willy Mutenza, 
' Esteemed speakers & panelists
' Invited ladies and gentlemen online.

On this day, 11 September 2001, a sad event that has been shortened to 9/11, a series of well-coordinated terrorist militant Islamist al-Qaeda attacked the United States of America on the morning of Tuesday. Morning times in New York are evening times in Uganda. I had returned from work and just switched on my TV and tuned in CNN. I watched in disbelief the jumbo planes ramming into and destroying the World Trade Centre situate in New York. Since then, the world was never the same. The war on terror had continued to date.

Similarly, in the eve of the year 2019, the world was attacked again by an unprecedented corona virus disease, also known as COVID 19 that has affected the world economy. Millions of lives have been lost consequently. COVID-19 has completely impacted all aspects of our lives. How we live and interact with each other, how we work and communicate, how we move around and travel. Every aspect of our lives has been affected. Decisions made now and in the coming months will be some of the most important ones made in generations. They will affect people all around the world for years to come.

Just like terror attacks, COVID 19 will continue to affect our plans, ambitions, and projections. Nevertheless, a new norm has been set. We shall adjust to the challenges. New technologies have made it possible for businesspeople to connect. 

I thank Mr. Willy Mutenza for using it yet again, like he did last year 2020 to organize and reach out to Ugandans in diaspora and investors who have passions to invest in Uganda. 

Despite the challenges occasioned by COVID 19, Government of Uganda has continued to plan for attracting high quality Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country in virtually all sectors. 
According to the latest United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports, Uganda is one of the countries attracting the most FDIs in East Africa, unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly slowed down its performance. According to UNCTAD's 2020 World Investment Report, FDI in Uganda decreased by 35% from US$ 1.3 billion in 2019 to US$ 823 million in 2018. Engineering works on the Lake Albert oil project slowed down due to COVID 19. 
The approval of the US$ 3.5bn East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, which will lead to the construction of a 1,400km pipeline from Uganda to the seaport of Tanga in the United Republic of Tanzania, bodes well for investment in both countries. In 2020, the stock of FDI grew to US$ 14.5 billion.
 
FDI rose from US$1055 million in 2018 to US$1266 million in 2019, representing 20% increase, as per UNCTAD report 2020. FDI stock rose from US$ 13,051 million to US$14,317 million representing 9.7% during the same period, with the resultant rise in greenfield investments that rose in number from 17 to 29 in the same period and associate value of greenfield investment also rose from US$366 million in 2018 to US$960 million in 2019 representing a whopping 162%. 

These are strong confidence statistics underpinned by political stability and steady economic growth under the able leadership of President Museveni, who was sworn into office in May 2021, for another 5 years' mandate. I expect more progress shall be recorded in all sectors.

Since 1986, the Government of Uganda made tremendous progress in regulatory development in financial services (especially in insurance and capital market) and in privatization in banking for attracting FDI while maintaining a tight monetary policy that kept inflation rates in single digits <8% for the last 35 years as compared to over 100% at 4 decades ago. 

Uganda is well-endowed in natural resources and its geographic location in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, gives it an ideal strategic base to become a regional hub of tourism, trade, and investment. 

Despite the COVID 19 challenges, and other inherent issues like poverty, poor infrastructures, inequitable distribution of utilities, industrial power and financial services, a lot of FDIs has been attracted into Uganda. Government has continued to improve on the ease of doing business in Uganda. Industrial incentives for industrial investments, including: a 75% import duty reduction on factory equipment, depreciating start-up costs over four years, and a 100% tax deduction on research and training costs as well as mineral exploration costs, including tax free imports of capital good for holders of investment licenses has contributed to the rise in the FDIs as reported by UNCTAD. 
Exports of processed products from Uganda is encouraged and there are no taxes paid. Investors engaged in export-oriented production can also enjoy a 10-year tax holiday. We encourage Ugandans to set up processing facilities country wide to provide decent jobs for our people, expand the tax base, and contribute to national development. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I conclude by encouraging you to invest in Uganda. It is mainly through trade and investment that nations rise to wealth and prosperity. We urge all of you to participate in investment activities as we implement the third National Development Plan (NDP III) towards the attainment of Uganda Vision 2040.

You shall hear more from the various panels on this convention. 

I thank you for listening to me. 

For God and My Country.

I now have the pleasure to invite the Guest of Honor for tonight's event, Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Robinna Nabbanja to address you.