The minister informed the investors that there are a lot of investment opportunities in Uganda mainly in the area of value addition
Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has met investors Arab investors who have expressed interest in areas of value addition, construction, a coffee processing factory for both Arabica and Robusta and assembling of vehicles.
The three, Hassan Al Ghatani from Saudi Arabia, Harabi Al Ghatani from Kuwait and Khalid Abd Al Ghadir from Sudan were in Uganda to explore investment opportunities especially in the area of construction of warehouses, assembling buses and textile manufacturing.
The investors are proprietors of companies specializing in manufacturing and engineering services with branches in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuwait.
"We have a lot of animals in Uganda yet we still import leather products expensively and plastics from countries like China disguised as leather" Kyambadde lamented at the meeting which took place at Esella Country Hotel in Kira.
During the meeting, Kyambadde informed the trio that there are a lot of investment opportunities in Uganda mainly in the area of value addition emphasizing leather and textiles.
Kyambadde advised the Arabs to invest in leather manufacturing adding that Government has now imposed a ban on the exportation of raw hides and skin to enable the leather industry to grow.
She also urged the investors to explore the establishment of textile industries and add value to cotton, saying Uganda currently has only 3 textile industries yet we harvest cotton twice a year with production standing at 102,619 bales per annum.
She added that Uganda has the best quality cotton in East Africa but most of it is exported semi-processed.
Hassan Al Ghatani told the minister that they were ready to set up a textile industry in Uganda and the purpose of their visit is to first establish how much cotton is produced and its quality, and whether Uganda has enough skilled labour to work in the factory.
The trio later visited Fine Spinners textile factory in Industrial Area in Kampala, to get a feel of what it takes to manage a textile factory in Uganda.
Al Ghatani added that they are also interested in construction of storage facilities especially warehouses and assembling of buses for public transport.
The Executive Director of Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Deborah Kyarasiime who attended the meeting informed them that currently, Uganda produces 7 million metric tons of grain per year; however, the storage infrastructure available is for only 550 metric tons leaving a very big gap.
Kyarasiime added that Government plans to partner with the Private Sector to construct warehouses with capacity of 700,000 metric tonnes distributed in all the regions. She asked the Arab investors to explore this opportunity and co-invest with Government in the venture.
Minister Kyambadde added that the land for construction of warehouses is already available with a number of districts that have offered land to construct. She however cautioned the investors on the use of local content in all their investments by employing the local people and shareholding with the districts that have offered the land for construction of the warehouses. The trio visited storage facilities (warehouses and silos) in Buloba on Mityana road.
Khalid Abd Al Ghadir said they are willing to explore the opportunity of working with Government of Uganda under the Public Private Partnership through Uganda Development Corporation or partnering with the farmers cooperatives.
"We shall start with the construction of warehouses which we find easy to do and after consultations in Saudi Arabia, we will consider the assembling of buses" explained Ghadir.
Ghadir said they are willing to go back to Saudi Arabia and be back to Uganda in the next two months to start the investments.