By Bernard R. Magulu, Executive Director, Bank of Africa (Uganda), (Vice Chairman, Uganda Convention UK)
“Uganda the Land of Opportunities, Landlocked but Road Linked” the 360% Geographical Orientation for Investors providing Gateway to East African Markets.
I am happy to share about the annual Uganda Convention- UK convention 2018 took place on 15th September 2018 edging 8 years since the creation of the Investment and Trade Forum. In my capacity and as one of the organisers, I am pleased to radiate the objective of which we hinge the Convention. Tracing history, the principle objective of the Convention was in response to bridging the challenges that confronted Ugandans at home and the diaspora community, among others.
The key mantra is that Uganda is ready for Business, and the call for Investors takes advantage of the market dynamics and contribute to the economy by taking and entrenching the Convention.
Over the years, I have and continue to witness positive and impactful discourse at the Convention by engaging and attracting continued presence of top policy makers from Uganda and the UK, Seniors Executives, Administrators, diverse Industry professionals, the academia, Civil Society practitioners, and Entrepreneurs. This treads create and offer influential development trends and priceless opportunities to the Business leaders, industry captains, government officials, representatives from prominent organisations based in Uganda, the UK and Continental Europe, who together converge at the annual event.
Our aspiration is to continue to drive the agenda of the Convention by ensuring that key topical issues such as Infrastructure, Power and Energy, Agri-business, Real Estate, Financial Markets Development, Manufacturing and SME business development continue to remain part of the programs, thus attracting investors of diverse scale.
As part of our central focus as the Convention, investors, including Ugandans in the Diaspora have a great opportunity to navigate with; Government consultations, Networking and Information sharing and finally the Convention culminates into a spectacular after part for unwinding for the evening.
I am happy to adduce that the Convention has annually contributed to the increase of Uganda’s exports in the region, introducing products to the international market in the European Union as well as COMESA. One of our key success is that the forum continues to create a platform that promotes and facilitate access to trade opportunities in Uganda (East Africa) for Ugandans and European (UK) investors, including one-to-one meetings.
In my view, the Convention has recorded milestones and exceeded its objectives in the years since its establishment in 2010. Whilst the foundation for the initiative was premised on the reflection of the pursuit to contribute positively to our country’s economy by showcasing Uganda as “the Land of Opportunities, Landlocked but Road Linked” the 360% Geographical orientation surrounding providing Gateway to East African Markets.
The Convention has initiated an extra engagement as part of the Convention’s activities, where, members of the Uganda government, private sector attend the House of Lords, hosted by one of the Ugandan Asian Lords to discuss among others: the importance of increasing investment, partnership and trade between UK and Uganda rather than aid and charity; forge a partnership with Ugandans in the House of Lords and parliament to improve on UK-Uganda relations in areas such as trade, upholding democratic principles and political cooperation and exploring how to further strengthen these relations; and Foster stronger links with Ugandan politicians and work with Uganda parliamentarians to keep UK MPs and business leaders in the UK updated on events in Uganda, this will mitigate passive information from the media which most of the time are negative.
I am very confident and proud of the Convention’s contribution towards Uganda’s National and inter-regional cooperative links in various ways not to mention seeking investors in all areas. In terms of outlook, the need for leveraging the diaspora latent skills potential with a direction for search of continuous synergy between Uganda and the UK Government remains an areas of great and immeasurable potential.
With the direct and indirect achievements so far recorded, I am specifically grateful for the effort and energy of our Founder/Chairman; Mr. Willy Mutenza for his resourcefulness, impeccable demeanour and superior dialoguing and for continuing to believe in the vision of the Convention. The Chairman deserves commendation for his selfless devotion, commitment and love for our motherland Uganda. As organisers we are honoured and appreciate the support from each and every one who has continued to support the Uganda
I look forward to seeing you at the next Convention planned for 14th September 2019.
For God and My Country,
Bernard R. Magulu
Executive Director, Bank of Africa (Uganda), (Vice Chairman, Uganda Convention UK)