IRELAND SET SIGHTS ON UGANDA’S AGRICULTURE, TOURISM SECTORS
This was announced by Ireland’s Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh, at the Uganda Investment Authority offices in Kampala on Monday.
The Government of Ireland has made an announcement through which it seeks to promote different vital sectors of Uganda’s economy. Sectors to be supported include agro processing, tourism, aviation and ICT.
This was announced by Ireland’s Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh, at the Uganda Investment Authority offices in Kampala on Monday. McHugh was on the last day of his three-day inaugural visit to the African continent.
he xecutive irector of ganda nvestment uthority r rank ebbowa left talks to the relands minister for the iaspora and nternational evelopment oe cugh when the minister paid a courtesy call to offices ampala on 11 uly 2016 hoto by onnie ijjambu The Executive Director of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Dr. Frank Sebbowa (left) talks to the Ireland’s minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh when the minister paid a courtesy call to UIA offices Kampala on 11 July 2016. Photo by Ronnie Kijjambu
During the visit, Ireland’s new 5-year strategic plan for Uganda was launched and it also includes engagement in the area of trade and investment promotion.
“This shows how the relationship between Ireland and Uganda has matured, and moved beyond purely development assistance and towards a more multi-faceted relationship incorporating strengthened trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people links,” McHugh said. “Our relationship will continue to grow but it has to be based on the principle of grassroots development where you know what is best for your country.”
He also revealed that though the strategy provides a framework for Irish Aid support for poverty reduction in Uganda, amounting to an envisaged €82.9m (about sh309b) over the next five years up to 2020, they hope to invest more with investments tipped to hit €100 million (sh372.345b). Over the years, we want to concentrate more on investment in humanity
“We will continue to encourage linkages between Irish and Ugandan companies and institutions, with a particular focus on sharing some of the learning from Ireland in areas of great interest to Uganda (especially agro processing, tourism, ICT, aviation and pharmaceuticals),” McHugh also stated.
The trade between Uganda and Ireland is estimated at about €17m (sh63.298b) per annum, according to Dónal Cronin, the Irish ambassador to Uganda. However, statistics from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade show that Ireland’s merchandise trade with Uganda was below €16 million (sh59.575b) in 2015.
Though this volume is small, Cronin says it has been growing over the last five years and they are committed to growing this through partnerships.
“Enhanced trade between our two countries will complement our aid programme and support independent development, while ensuring that growth is as inclusive as possible,” he said.
He names Tullow Oil, Devenish Nutrition, and International Computer Driving License (ICDL), among others, as some of irish companies that have set up investments here though the actual value of Irish investments in the country being not readily available.
Cronin says that they would like to see a difference in improvement in the ease of doing business as it still one of the obstacles that the country still struggles with and results into long time taken to secure a trading license for foreign investors.
However, Frank Sebbowa, UIA’s executive director, assured the delegation this was on top of their priorities as they are seeking to integrate the whole process of securing a business license through the one-stop center in order to reduce the days taken to secure business registration to a two days.