21 June 2014

Uganda: Danida Partnership to Benefit Ugandan Local Firms

Kampala — An estimate of more than 20 local Uganda companies in sectors such as health, environment, tourism, water and education are expected to benefit from the Danida Business Partnership (DBP) an initiation in which Danish developed companies provide financial support to counterpart local companies in Uganda.

The full extent of the development cooperation comes to approximately $100million per year and is set to benefit cooperation with a broad range of Ugandan partners including government agencies, local government, private sector and civil society.

The Royal Danish Ambassador H.E. Dan. E Frederiksen said the cooperation shall focus on areas of economic growth, job creation, rural water supply, building democratic institutions and good governance.

He said "our promotion of economic growth and job creation is focusing on the agricultural sector with more emphasis on the private players who are the primary drivers of sustainable economic growth".

Denmark has been instrumental in establishing the Agribusiness Initiative Trust (aBi) which is a corporate entity devoted to private sector agribusiness development.

" aBi provides a combination of business development services and finance to agribusinesses focusing on six selected agricultural value chains such as coffee, maize, oil seeds, diary and horticulture" he said

According to the ambassador, Denmark also supports construction of rural infrastructure to ensure that district roads can accommodate the increased amounts of agricultural products being transported to the market.

He called upon both the local companies to create strong bonds with the foreign companies so as to promote creation of strong private sector since the active participation of Danish business is crucial.

Currently, the portfolio of DBP in Uganda stands at 24 partnerships with a total volume of 64 million DKK.

Frank Ssebowa the executive director Uganda Investment Authority urged the investors to focus their investments majorly in the agricultural sector which according it him is the backbone of economic growth in Uganda

Ssebowa also said Uganda has abundant agricultural resources and offers many opportunities for investment in agricultural production and agro-processing, as well as for trade in agricultural inputs and products.

"Agricultural production comes almost exclusively from 2.2 million smallholders, mostly working 2 to 3 hectares of land, using traditional methods of cultivation and family labour. Products include food crops such as plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, maize, beans, groundnuts and sesame, livestock and export crops (coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco). Some high value crops such as cut flowers and certain vegetables and fruits, are also being exported". He said

He said "the economic output is dominated by agriculture, which was responsible for 44% of GDP in 1996/97. Manufacturing contributed 8.6% of GDP in 1996/97. Most manufacturing is based on the processing of agricultural products. Agriculture employs over 80% of the labour force and also accounts for over 90% of export earnings.

Besides that, he cautioned the willing Danish Investors to be keen while acquiring land leases so as to avoid conmen and called upon them to visit UIA where data banks of free land are kept before acquiring land.

Denmark's support to growth and employment in Uganda has so far contributed to the creation of more than 450,000 new jobs.

It is the aim of Denmark to bring new momentum to the sustainable development with emphasis on green growth and with it clear goals and targets which will focus on enabling people to move out of poverty through sustainable growth and development while at the same time securing a healthier, more viable future for all of us.

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