By Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi
As we continue on our four-mile journey strategy for Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo, steady and exciting milestones continue to be registered. Two months now into our journey, it can be noted that we have so far covered two and half miles based on the achievement so far made.
During the visit of H.E, the President to UAE to attend the launch of Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo, the President met and invited a number of potential investors to come and invest in Uganda in various strategic areas of the economy. A number of companies showed interest and last week I was privileged to lead a group of four investors to Uganda. The investors were able to meet and interact with the President at his country home in Kisozi over the weekend. They discussed areas of investment and opportunities available in Uganda.
The four companies that arrived and are currently in the country are diverse in their area of operations and of varying investment capabilities. The investors that are in the country are as follows:
Dr. Abdulmonem Almarzooqi, the Managing Director of an Abu Dhabi based Agribusiness Company called Elite Agro LLC.
Elite Agro is one of the leading producers and distributors of daily fresh vegetables and fruits in the UAE and the Middle East region. They engage in growing, sourcing, importing and marketing a wide range of high-quality agricultural products through world-class technology and effective distribution chain. Elite Agro’s area of interest is commercialized agriculture.
The second company that is currently in the country and interested in investing in Uganda is Masdar Clean Energy.
Masdar is a leading developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects, community grid projects, and energy services consultancy. The company has over 15 years of experience as a renewable energy developer and investor, working in partnership with business and government
Active in more than 30 countries, Masdar is one of the largest developers of renewable energy projects in the Middle East. It is a leading developer and operator of utility-scale as well as off-grid renewable energy projects, which are helping to expand energy access in emerging markets and reduce reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation.
Since 2006, Masdar has invested in mainly solar and wind power projects with a combined value of nearly US$20 billion. Masdar’s share of this investment is in excess of US$7 billion. Masdar invests in and contributes to innovative projects, including utility-scale power plants, community grid projects, and individual solar home systems.
The third investor in the country from UAE is Mr. Hussain Alnowais, the Chairman of AMEA Power Company.
AMEA Power Company acquires, develops, owns, and operates thermal and renewable power projects in Africa, Middle East and Asia. The company offers a wide range of power solutions that meet the needs of the emerging markets cater to including gas, solar, wind and hydropower plants.
AMEA Power has shown interest in developing a 20MW solar plant in Arua and a 200MW plant hybrid of solar and wind energy production in Karamoja.
The fourth investor is EHH Ecole Hôtelière Helvétique led by Dr. Fauz Gartby. EHH Ecole Hôtelière Helvétique is one of the leading hospitality management schools in the UAE and offers authentic traditional Swiss programs, a blend of practical with academic underpinning. The school offers a holistic tourism business program that includes the following key tourism sector components:
- Hotel Operations and Management
- Culinary Arts
- Aviation operations and Management
The Objective of EHH is to contribute to the Global Hospitality and Tourism Industry by producing qualified human capital for the tourism industry and creating meaningful career opportunities worldwide.
The drawn investment plan by all of the four investor companies will facilitate investments in the country worthy $2.5bn over a period of five years.
The areas that have been identified as of interest to these investors are:
- Tea Processing
- Renewable Energy
- Infrastructure Pharmaceuticals.
It can therefore be noted that Uganda’s participation at the Dubai Expo has started yielding fruits and this has been due to the fact that right from the onset, we managed to spelt out and set for ourselves at the Uganda Embassy in Abu Dhabi the four-mile journey target goals that we had to achieve from Uganda’s participation in the Expo.
The Embassy set a target of 4 billion US dollars foreign exchange inflow into Uganda to be attracted during the six month of the Dubai Expo 2020. At this pace I foresee the target being met by at least 150 percent by the end of the Expo at the end of March 2022. I wish to commend the team work spirit of the Uganda Embassy in Abu Dhabi and support by key stakeholders like; Office of the Commissioner General (UEPB), UIA, UTB, UCDA, Ministries of: Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Trade, Tourism, ICT and Finance amongst others.
More investments in areas of oil & gas and tourism are also soon coming through and we are hopeful that Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo will continue to unlock more investment opportunities for our country and subsequently job creation for our youths.
By Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi – Uganda Embassy in the UAE