By Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi
One mile is off the journey of four and by the end of the six months all the four miles shall be completed if not more. We shall fully achieve the purpose of Uganda’s participation.
Here is what has been our roadmap on this journey every activity planning, preparation and target.
The Embassy’s plan for participation at the world Expo is twofold; to facilitate Uganda’s visibility and competitiveness. This is a world Expo at which 192 countries are participating. For a country to be visible there is need for strategic planning, showcasing uniqueness and leverage on comparative advantage that she has.
How best could Uganda participate to be visible and heard? Could it be by exhibiting products that cannot be consistently supplied in terms of quality and quantity, or to attract investments that can address the factors that impede these inconsistencies?
I comfortably settle for the later premised on what some of us know why our exports are still low yet the country has immense potential. This shall be a matter for discussion some other time.
Back to the Embassy two fold participation plan.
- Have a super launch of our participation
- Have a well strategized participation for the entire six months
The set target for our participation through the drawn plan is to attract at least US$ 4 billion foreign exchange inflow into Uganda during the six months of the duration of Dubai Expo 2020.
First fold (super launch) was very successful with five achievements in only three days of the launch and these achievements were as follows:
- Availability of pavilion for Uganda’s participation. This was lobbied from the hosting country and saved Uganda ugx 15 Billion.
- Convincing H.E, the President of Uganda to lead the delegation to the Expo. As you would imagine, this was an uphill task especially due to Covid concerns.
- Lobbying for Uganda’s National Day at the Expo to come first when anxiety is still high across the world. Indeed Uganda was the first African country to celebrate her national day and second globally, after France, at the Expo.
- Burj Khalifa (World’s tallest building) be decorated with Uganda flag colours on the eve before the national day. It happened and breaking news by all local UAE and many international TV channels was “Uganda at Burj Khalifa”
- Take advantage of the presence of the President at the Expo to have some investment deals concluded. This was done and investments worthy US$1 Billion were finalized.
Examples of the deals concluded are:
- Elite Agro LLC committed to invest US $500m in the sector of Agriculture starting next month by setting up a world class tea processing factory, Irish potatoes value addition factory, Hass Avocado for export etc.
- In the area of Power and Energy
- AMEA POWER to invest US $ 250m by setting up a 20mw solar plant in Arua and 200mw (Hybrid solar and wind) plant in Karamoja.
- To set up a US$200m an industrial park in Karamoja close to the energy plant.
- Global Gases Group to set up at US $50m large liquid Oxgyen production plant.
These three were the concluded deals under the responsibility of the Uganda Embassy in UAE. These deals were concluded during the three days launch of Expo and Uganda’s participation.
However, there is another major pending for feasibility study in tourism and is worth $400m, amongst many others pending.
Second fold of Uganda’s participation plan.
We have drawn up a calendar of activities based on monthly sectoral themes where both public and private sectors shall be mobilised to participate from Uganda, UAE & Middle East and other parts of the world since 192 countries are represented at the Dubai Expo.
The calendar as follows:
- December it will be Tourism and Uganda/UAE convention.
- January it will be Trade, Industries and Manufacturing.
- February it will be Agriculture and Agro-processing.
- March it will be Science and Innovation.
I wish to take this opportunity to invite all Ugandans and friends of Uganda to come and we work together for success at the Dubai Expo 2020. A country’s success is premised on citizens working together.
The author Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi is Uganda’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates