By David Mugabe
Top global investors and leaders will gather in Kampala for the third Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC14), a gathering that is increasingly emerging as the premier meeting point for the industry in East Africa.
Irene Nakalyango, chief executive officer, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) said preparations are well ahead of time with several industry leaders having confirmed their participation including from the fairly advanced minerals sector in South Africa.
With the minerals sector in Uganda under review, interest is growing with the promise of previous meetings showing that the country is richly endowed but yet to turn this underground endowment into actual value for the citizenry.
This issue will once again form the core of discussions according to Nakalyango.
Information from the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) also indicates that local firms are picking more interest in the extractive sector and how they can directly or indirectly benefit from this home found potential.
The chamber is the main lobby group that represents largely the interest of the private sector in the country’s extractives industry.
The chamber currently has more than 100 members from oil and gas, mining, insurance, banking and clearing and forwarding.
Individual firms under the chamber include top banks like Stanbic, Standard Chartered as well as oil companies including Tullow, CNOOC and Total and several other mining firms that have partnered with foreign groups. Mukwano group is the latest company to join the chamber.
Many of the formal financial institutions are reluctant to put money into the extractive industry because of the associated risks.
Under taking the refinery project in western Uganda as well as other vast infrastructure projects will also require huge financing that banks both local and foreign and under the chamber could pull together to provide pooled financing.
The country will need close to $15b to undertake the commercial oil development plan.
Uganda has steadily pushed its oil and gas sector setting in place required legislation and recently, the country’s legislature vetted members who are supposed to constitute the National Oil Company and the National Oil Authority which is considered a significant step to ensure when the oil flows out of the ground, the necessary systems are in place to regulate as well as manage oversee other operational stages.