South Africa: Opinion – the Maiden South Africa-Uganda Investment Summit Was a Huge Success

The first-ever South Africa-Uganda Trade, Tourism and Investment Summit held in South Africa last week saw Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Cyril Ramaphosa call for increased trade and investment.

The two presidents discussed a litany of bilateral issues, including how to increase trade and investment between the two sisterly countries and to this, they witnessed the signing of five Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of women, youth and PWDs, correctional services and prisons, tourism, transport related matters and ICT.

Addressing South African journalists during a press conference, President Museveni said “we agreed to champion deliberate efforts to reinvigorate and boost trade between our two countries as well as put in place avenues to facilitate increase in investment”.

I agree with the president that our focus should be on what we can export to South Africa and explore third-party markets like the United States, the European Union and China.

We have lagged behind on this with exports to South Africa accounting for only $17.5 million in 2020 whereas imports from South Africa were$169 million in 2018.

The inaugural investment summit therefore provided a platform for the private sector, government and business regulatory agencies to freely exchange views, ideas, and information on how to facilitate investment, trade and tourism between the two countries but also increase Uganda’s exports to South Africa.

On the investment perspective, the summit focused on agriculture and value-addition, mining and mineral beneficiation, infrastructure development and services, amongst others and again here, we scored a lot.

The NRM government under the stewardship of President Museveni is focused on creating a conducive ambiance to attract foreign investors and the stable peace and security prevailing in Uganda, is one of the milestones we should cherish and capitalise on to achieve this.

For a country like Uganda to develop, we must open our borders for foreign and domestic investors and this is what the investment summit in South Africa was al about.

With partnerships like the South Africa-Uganda Trade, Tourism and Investment Summit, Ugandans must embrace to learn a thing or two.

It should be noted that the summit is pivotal in bridging the trade gap between South Africa and Uganda, giving an opportunity for us to market our beauty and economic potential of becoming Africa’s leading destination for trade, tourism, and investment.

More so, the Ugandans in the diaspora should equally play an important role of contributing to Uganda’s economy by investing back home.

This should be the basic ideal for all under the guiding principles of patriotism, Pan Africanism, democracy and social transformation.

On this, I must applaud President Museveni and the NRM government for being visionary. The bold steps being taken to woo investors are commendable.

This summit should happen annually, and be used to attract more South African investments into Uganda but also expand markets for Ugandan products abroad.

Uganda and Ugandans will reap the biggest from this summit

Isma Luzige is the chairperson of the NRM Southern Africa Chapter

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