11 November 2012

Uganda: Trade Minister Kyambadde Woos Swedish Investors

Kampala — Trade, industry and cooperatives minister, Amelia Kyambadde has asked Swedish investors to take advantage of Uganda's vast natural resources and its regional strategic location to set up investments in value addition and packaging.

She said Uganda was fast-becoming a business hub because of its strategic location in the Great Lakes Region with easy access to the East African Community that boasts of over 140 million consumers and some 400 million COMESA consumers.

She explained Uganda's even bigger market potential of up to 600 million people when the tripartite agreement is signed.

When signed, the deal will bring together COMESA, EAC and SADC into a big regional economic communities in the Free Trade Area.

Kyambadde was speaking at the launch of the Swedish-Ugandan Business Association (SUBA) at the Swedish ambassador's residence in Kololo at the end of the week.

The event was attended by business people from Sweden and other Norwegian communities, and local entrepreneurs trading with Sweden.

SUBA is headed by Erostus Nsubuga and has a 12-member executive committee comprising of local and Swedish entrepreneurs.

The 57-year-old Ugandan minister told the investors that Uganda had investment opportunities in the tourism sector, packaging industry, value addition of local products - especially agro-based, energy and transport, among others.

"Now that we have this association, it will be a medium for our pursuance, guidance and lobbying of other investments between Uganda and Sweden," she said.

Her emphasis was that adding that her ministry would do everything within its means to promote trade and investment relations between the two countries.

She also pledged to engage with already big Swedish companies engaged in business in Uganda, among them SKenya Motors Limited that represents SCANIA, SWEDAC, Tetra Pda, Naval and others to work together to further boost and diversify their investments in Uganda.

"In the past our partnerships were donor and aid-related but it gratifying that we have now embarked on a mutually beneficial economic partnership," she explained.

The Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Anders Urban Anderson told members that the Swedish government wants to develop deeper trade relations with Uganda by contributing to more development programs.

In addition, there were more Swedish business companies which want to invest in Uganda and help their Ugandan counterpart access bigger markets.

"We plan to make Uganda a tourist destination for Swedish tourists and help in the area of adding value to their produce."

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