By Nicholas Oneal
Senior Presidential Advisor on defence and security Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho a.k.a. Salim Saleh, has asked Asians expelled from Uganda in 1972 by Idi Amin to return and invest in the country.
Gen. Saleh met with Khalid Sheikh, chairman of Clifton Packaging, a United Kingdom-based company on Sunday.
He said that Uganda has the best agricultural products in the region but it was not doing well on the international market because of poor packaging.
“We need these Ugandan Asians back because they are good at information technology, energy production and value addition innovations,” said the army man at his Lake Victoria home in Garuga near Entebbe.
“Indians are creative, innovative and good entrepreneurs. That is why Uganda needs them back.”
Saleh showed Khalid some of the Ugandan products including baby food, vinegar and coffee which, he said, needed improved packaging.
He asked Khalid to consider training Ugandan farmers on how to package their processed fruit and coffee, for value addition.
Khalid, who heads a £500m packaging company in Leicester, left Uganda at the age of 14, when Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda in 1972.
He recalled that he scrubbed floors until he saved enough money to buy an old printing press from a scrap yard.
Thirsty-six years later, Khalid’s £500m business has grown from strength to strength.
He has won several awards for his innovation.
“We are committed to developing added value packaging concepts in line with the global market developments,” states the Clifton website.
President YoweriMuseveni – Saleh’s brother – toured the factory in 2008.
During the visit, the president reassured foreign investors willing to do business in Uganda that no one will ever again expel them because they are protected by the Constitution.
Khalid, also known as the King of packaging, is in the country to participate in events marking 40 years since Amin expelled Asians from Uganda.
Apart from a few business engagements, he said he will record a documentary about his background and roots in Jinja where his mother’s remains were buried.
He revealed that his mother died before the family went to the United Kingdom.
Khalid showed Saleh a commemorative Jubilee pencil bag as a sample of his packaging materials.