Gov’t to make it easier for Eritrean community to invest in Uganda

The Ugandan government and leaders of Eritreans living in the country have resolved to set up an information centre that will provide vital business knowledge to Eritrean investors.

This resolution was  reached at  during the first-ever Eritrean diaspora investment conference organised by the president's office  in charge of diaspora affairs in Kampala, themed ‘Anchoring Eritrean investment into a vibrant Uganda.’

The third Deputy Premier, Lukia Nakadama, who was the chief guest commended Ambassador Abbey  Walusimbi for the initiative and carrying forward the President Museveni’s vision of making Uganda an investment hub.

She reechoed the president’s  call of the Pan-Africanism spirit, which creates a sense of brotherhood among Africans.

Nakadama noted   that by anchoring Eritrean investment in Uganda's economy, the country will be taking a step towards achieving the president’s  vision of having a robust East African economy, that's not entirely dependent on donor funding.

She wooed Eritrean investors to take advantage of the unexplored opportunities in the agriculture and education sectors, adding that the president has created avenues to grow them.

The Deputy Premier called upon Eritrean investors to set up ventures in the country, saying there is continued peace and stability.

The Minister for Kampala Metropolitan Affairs, Minsa Kabanda, said the capital city is full of opportunities, especially for serious investors, pointing out that forming an Eritrean-Uganda centre, which will act as a stop-gap measure to some of the issues that could hinder Eritrean investment in the country.

The centre will also house cultural artifacts.

The minister said her office is open to the Eritrean investors who plan to put their money in Kampala.

The Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, commended the Eritreans for choosing Uganda as their second home, and contributing to its economic growth through various investments.

On the other hand, he  noted that the Eritrean community faces a number of challenges, including access to information on investment areas, access to work permits, business, trade and investment incentives, information on taxation, laws governing citizenship, process of acquiring land for business and investment, verification of Eritrean academic papers to enable Eritreans access Ugandan job opportunities, among others.

He assured the Eritrean community that as part of the president's vision of creating one market for Africa's economic prosperity, the aforementioned challenges will be solved.

Walusimbi reckoned that President Museveni opened Uganda's borders, in a bid to attract not only Eritreans but also other foreigners who have made Uganda their second home.

He assured Eritrean investors of the country's peaceful ambiance, and urged them to spread the Ugandan investment gospel amongst their community.

The State House Senior Principal Legal Officer to the president, Sandra Ndyomugyenyi, thanked Walusimbi for this initiative which will cement Uganda's relationship with Eritrea, and promote a united Africa.

She guided the Eritrean investors on minimising bureaucracies, legal constraints that frustrate business in Uganda, calling upon them to always engage the relevant government authorities.

The legal officer urged them to obtain approval from UIA or other government agencies before acquiring land for business.

A Senior consultant from the State House Anti-corruption unit, asked members of the Eritrean community to report any corruption tendencies they face, adding  that the unit will help them to fight illegalities and harassment face in doing business and investment.

The Eritrean community representative, Kidane Ghebrehawariat Habteselassie, said the conference opened  a new chapter to further the existing ties between both nations.

He commended the government and people of Uganda for welcoming them, and mentioned that President Museveni has championed many great achievements, including peace, but most importantly his relentless commitment to the spirit of Pan-Africanism.

Kidane also thanked the government of Uganda for putting in place favourable policies, which have enabled Eritrean investors to become part of Uganda's economy.

He reiterated President Museveni's call to promote common interests above identities, highlighting some of the positive contributions made by Eritreans, including direct foreign investment remittances through monetary injections and promoting tourism.

He, however, appealed to the government to deal with and iron out some of the challenges such as crimes of theft which discourage investors.

The event saw Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Ministry of Trade, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Directorate of Citizenship Immigration Control, Office of the President, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Lands, State House, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anti-Corruption Unit, Bank of Uganda, Post Bank Uganda, Uganda Police Force, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Judiciary, State House Legal Unit, MOF Diaspora Dept, Bank of Uganda, Post Bank among others represented.

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