23 September 2003

Uganda: Iranians Negotiate for 21 Square Miles

Kampala — THE National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the industrial arm of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), has offered 21 square miles of land at Kisozi Ranches to Iranian investors.

The Iranians plan to go into large scale commercial agricultural production, officials have disclosed.

Emmanuel Orinzi, the acting Head of the Africa/Middle East Desk at the foreign affairs ministry, said negotiations between NEC and the Iranians had been going on for about four years now.

"The firms interested in this land are involved in agro-based industry, commercial farming, and would like to use it as a base to enter the lucrative East African market with their products," Orinzi said at Entebbe airport on Sunday. This was soon after receiving part of a delegation of 30 Iranian entrepreneurs and government officials.

The delegation, which is being led by Dr. Muhamed Shariatmadari, the minister of commerce and Plenipotentiary, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will fly back home on September 26.

They are here to hold talks with senior government officials and members of the private sector aimed at expanding business links.

Although he could not disclose what the Iranians intend to grow on the land, Orinzi said the investors have also got another offer to set up a tractor assembly plant at the Nakasongola industrial complex.

"The buildings are all unoccupied and facilities lying redundant. NEC has expressed its readiness to offer it to them, and is ready to sign an agreement with them after protracted discussions," he said.

Mohsen Khadem Arab Baghi, the managing director of Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company, is here to wrap up the deal.

Sources say the tractor manufacturing firm is likely to be the first beneficiary for the $10m credit line, discussions of which are being held between Bank of Uganda and officials of the Export Developing Bank of Iran.

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