By Jane Nafula
The government is mooting a plan, to help Small and Medium Scale businesses penetrate the United Arab Emirates (UEA) market, an envoy has said.
Speaking at the end of a four-day, 2nd edition of Uganda-UAE Business Forum held at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Friday evening, Uganda’s Ambassador to UAE, Mr Zaake W. Kibedi said the move would boost further, Uganda’s foreign exchange, from the UAE.
” We are working on a proposal to see how Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) can be supported to operate in the UAE. The big enterprises can find their way out. And with the offer of an office in UAE, we should give SMES information in good time, so that they can organise themselves,” Mr. Kibedi said.
He noted that responsible ministries and government institutions would soon meet within the ministries of Foreign Affairs from both Uganda and UAE and agree on how SMEs can be supported to penetrate the lucrative market in the United Arab Emirates.
Kibedi said the reliable economic partnership, had seen Uganda’s Foreign Direct Investments from UAE increase from $300m in 2018 to the current $3 billion.
He also wooed the business community in UEA to come and invest in Uganda, saying huge investment opportunities exist in Tourism, Oil and gas, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and public transport, Health and Education, Energy and Minerals, Commercial agriculture, and value-addition among others.
“We had a trip to the oil field in Hoima and were told that an investment opportunity worth $8b exists there. We can engage the Ministry of Energy and Uganda oil companies and see how this opportunity can utilized,” Mr Kibedi said.
Mr Vincent W. Bagiire, the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary who officiated at the closing of the Business Forum announced that the undersecretary of the AbuDhabi Department of Economic Development, H.E Rashid Abdulkarim Al Blooshi had offered an office to Uganda Investment Authority, to utilize it as a base for aggressively marketing Uganda in Arab countries.
“He challenged us that Uganda is endowed with so many resources and wondered why were not aggressively promoting our country. He offered Uganda Investment Authority an office to promote the country aggressively. We shall take it and I want to assure you that we will utilized it, ” Mr Bagiire said.
“We look forward to increasing foreign direct inflow into our country through business partnership exports, in the UAE and Middle East,” he said.
Mr Bagiiire however, challenged exporters from Uganda to stick to quality standards and improve packaging, if they are to compete favourably in the export markets.
Some of Uganda’s Exports to UAE include coffee, agricultural produce, and meat products, precious minerals, and labour.
The Undersecretary of the AbuDhabi Department of Economic Development, H.E Rashid Abdulkarim Al Blooshis said he would continue to encourage business groups to invest in both Uganda and the UAE.
About 23 companies from UAE participated in the second edition of the Business Forum.The 3rd edition of Uganda-UAE Business Forum will take place in UAE in October, 2024.