South African businesses in Uganda and key local institutions including MTN Uganda, Absa Bank Uganda, Sanlam, Nile Breweries Limited, Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, dfcu Bank, MultiChoice Uganda, and Woolworths have partnered to support the Uganda government to attract foreign direct investment through the upcoming Uganda-South Africa trade and investment summit.
The two-day summit to be held at Speke Resort Munyonyo starting September 5th to 6th follows a similar summit held last February in South Africa.
Sylvia Mulinge, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Uganda, a subsidiary of MTN Group based in South Africa and the lead sponsor of the summit, said MTN’s decision to support the summit and rally other key South African businesses and local institutions in Uganda was in response to President Yoweri Museveni’s request to help attract more South African investments to facilitate the social and economic development.
“MTN is here to help Ugandan government mobilize more South African companies to come and invest in Uganda especially in agro- industrialization, manufacturing and tourism to boost the economy, create more jobs and improve the country’s balance of trade,” she said on August 9th during a pre-summit media briefing in Kampala.
“MTN’s mantra this year is together we are unstoppable, hinged on our belief in the power of collaboration. We believe that we can achieve a faster social and economic transformation when private sector players partner with the government in support of the countries’ national development,” she added.
The summit is meant to attract South African investors into Uganda, in the areas of agro- industrialization, steel manufacturing, tourism and the energy sector.
Available statistics from the Bank of Uganda show that the value of the country’s exports to the South African nation continues to grow albeit at a slow pace doubling to US$ 21.24 million in the past 10 years up to 2022.
However, the value of South Africa’s exports to Uganda decreased from US$ 251.6 million to US$ 127.6 million during the same period.
According to Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda’s exports to South Africa include cotton, gold, fish fillets, tobacco, coffee, and fresh flowers.
On the other hand, South Africa’s exports to Uganda include machinery, vehicles, plastics, chemicals, electronics, parts and accessories, petroleum, live animals, books and newsprint, textiles, footwear, aircraft, and household goods.
Commenting on the initiative, Absa Bank Uganda Managing Director, Mumba Kalifungwa said as a banking partner with a presence in both markets, key to their agenda will be using their financial solutions and expertise to foster linkages for both Ugandan and South African-based organisations to do business with each other.
“This, we will do through tailor-made solutions that meet the specific needs of businesses that are key to economic growth – including agro-processing, manufacturing and trade, among others,” he said.
dfcu Bank’s CEO and Managing Director, Charles Mudiwa, said the lender is committed to fostering economic growth and development in Uganda, which aligns perfectly with the objectives of the forthcoming summit.
“Collaborations between South African and Ugandan businesses are crucial for the success of the investment summit and dfcu Bank stands ready to facilitate these partnerships by providing financial advisory services, access to capital, and networking opportunities,” he said.
Nile Breweries Country Director, Adu Rando, said they are excited by this opportunity to showcase Uganda’s potential in the agri- industrialization space.
“Nile Breweries has invested greatly in the agricultural value chain, sourcing all its inputs; barley, sorghum, cassava and maize for its beer from local farmers,” he said.
John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Affairs commended MTN Uganda for bringing together various private sector players to ensure that the summit is a success.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that all the non-tariff barriers including visa are eliminated and a conducive business environment is in place for the growth of businesses,” he said.
South African High Commissioner to Uganda, Lulama Mary-Theresa Xingwana said her government is working closely with the Ugandan government to boost trade and relations through elimination of trade barriers.