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Why West Nile is the epitome of trade with Africa

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Added 18th June 2019 07:43 PM

The strategic positioning of the West Nile on the map of the Upper Nile disrupts the earlier geographic narrative that Uganda is a landlocked country

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The strategic positioning of the West Nile on the map of the Upper Nile disrupts the earlier geographic narrative that Uganda is a landlocked country

By Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari

For a very long time, the world has heard a different story about the West Nile region of Uganda and the entire Upper Nile Valley of Africa. A story of conflict and under development, a story of a refugee crisis, poverty and disease.

However, those that know about the immense opportunity and the booming activity in the region, know a different Upper Nile.

For starters, the strategic positioning of the West Nile on the map of the Upper Nile disrupts the earlier geographic narrative that Uganda is a landlocked country, instead of showing that Uganda is a land-linked country. The region is a business hub, connecting the business activity to three neighbouring countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

As Uganda and as Africa, West Nile and the Upper Nile is the epitome of trade with the rest of Africa.

The office of the President under the Operation Wealth Creation, in partnership with development agencies, have decided to organise a platform that will market the West Nile sub-region of Uganda and the entire Upper Nile to the whole world, through the inaugural Uganda-Germany Investment Symposium.

The symposium will market the region with the Germans who are partnering with us, especially in the Agricultural sector, which is 60% of our revenue as a country, through both pre and post-harvest equipment that can help our Upper Nile people.

As a show of support for this great cause, the Uganda Investment Authority has partnered with OWC to host the symposium at Muni University, located on Muni Hill in Arua town on July 25 – 26, 2019.

Under the theme “Transformation of Africa’s Upper Nile Valley through Pan African Peace Building and Holistic Development”, the symposium is rightly placed to enable the region experience a comprehensive display of national and international companies, high-level government officials, business leaders, from various African nations under one roof.

The summit delegates and speakers will be unparalleled in their level of seniority, relevance and influence. The highly-focused gathering provides the ideal platform to meet directly with investment promotion agencies from Africa’s Upper Nile countries whose purpose is to attract inward investment to their respective countries, regions or cities and also trade promotion organisations from the same whose purpose is to promote external trade to their respective country, region or city.

Among the various targets, it is hoped that the symposium will open and harness opportunities in investments, innovations, commercialisation, business development and trade between Uganda and other African countries while also spreading its reach to Germany, the European Union and the entire world.

Uganda also needs to develop linkages with its neighbours in DRC and South Sudan’s universities (Academia), industry/private sector and government (public sector) ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs); in research and development (R&D), innovations, commercialisation, entrepreneurship and business development and the symposium provides the platform for this.

With the recently signed Free Trade Agreement, the symposium provides an opportunity to promote Pan-African peacebuilding through regional and market integration, cross-border investment and business development through regional infrastructure development in Africa’s Upper Nile Valley, viz. Northern Uganda, North Eastern DRC and South Sudan.

Participants at the symposium will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with investment promotional agencies from various Africa’s Upper Nile Valley nations and government officials to learn about resources and incentives while sharing in various sessions about investment opportunities – how, where and why to invest in Africa’s Upper Nile Valley.

I, therefore, call upon educational institutions, the private sector players, multinationals in Uganda, DRC and South Sudan; German/European Union companies, firms and organisations with businesses already involved or seeking to be involved in Uganda, North Eastern DRC and South Sudan to come and experience firsthand the opportunities, in Africa’s Upper Nile Valley.

The writer is the chairman National Organising Committee of the Uganda Germany Investment Symposium 2019

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