By David Mugabe
Senet Holding, a Hong Kong-based investment company is seeking new markets and partners in Uganda in areas where substantial development exists from oil and gas to minerals and consumer goods.
Senet Holding founder, Alexandar Romanov and chief executive officer, Frøystein Bakke were in the country recently on a commercial sports enterprise conference but were “deeply impressed and inspired by what Uganda has to offer” after meeting Ugandan officials.
“I see promise, willpower and determination amongst Ugandans. This region could be to Africa what the tiger economies are to Asia; with huge potential markets. Uganda’s economy is like an African lion that is ready to roar,” Romanov, a Russian national, who was here for the first time noted.
A recent International Monetary Fund statement, noted that Uganda’s economy would expand by 5.8% in the 2015/16 fiscal year from an estimated 5.3% in the previous year boosted by public investments.
The government is at various stages of implementing several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects including hydropower dams, a refinery, express highways and a railway line. Growth would be driven by scaled-up public investment and a recovery of private consumption supported by stronger credit growth, according to reports quoting the IMF statement.
Relatively low inflation, healthy foreign exchange reserves of above 4 months of import cover and low government debt are also providing Uganda’s economy with a strong cushion against external shocks, it added.
Although no concrete decisions were made on the next steps, the group have stated interest of returning in the near future.
“Uganda is such a beautiful country, I am confident that we will do business here in the near future,” Bakke said during a sports enterprise conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo during which they met officials from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The prospective investors at a conference at Speke Resort, Munyonyo. (Credit: David Mugabe)
Uganda’s promise in recent years is heavily linked with the discovery of oil and gas in 2006, which has subsequently seen an increase in foreign direct investment as many target a piece of the pie.
Actual oil production dates remain vague, with the Bank of Uganda recently expressing doubts about the country meeting the 2018 projection for First Oil.
This however has not discouraged continued investor interest in Uganda; with not only oil and gas related companies attracted but also various ones across a wide spectrum like real estate, since it is anticipated that disposable income is bound to increase countrywide.
Manzi Tumubweine, the chairman of the national lotteries board noted that sports-betting remains a large revenue generator bringing billions in earnings both for the State and businesses.
The first international sports betting symposium in Uganda which the Senet Holding executives attended is related to these prospects.
“There are a number of sports betting opportunities available here in Uganda, the East African region and Africa in general.
“Engagements like this summit open up great networking openings which not only aid knowledge sharing but also encourage business transactions,” said Yudi Soetjiptadi, Project Director, Eventus International from Hong Kong, the organizers of the summit and similar ones across Africa.
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New interest in Uganda’s oil and gas investments