The visiting Indian Minister of State for External and Parliamentary Affairs, Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, says his country will transfer her knowledge, technology and experience in agriculture to boost Uganda’s agricultural sector. Minister Muraleedharan, who is on a three-day visit to Uganda, says India used to have a struggling agricultural sector to the extent it was a net importer of many foodstuffs but that has now changed, thanks to strategic investment in agriculture, citing dairy and grains as examples. Minister Muraleedharan said Uganda being an agricultural country, India will support Uganda’s agricultural sector especially in dairy, grain and cotton production, as well as irrigation systems. “The finest cotton in the world is produced here in Uganda and we shall support a mechanism for Uganda to produce, process and market her cotton globally,” he said. Muraleedharan was speaking at a Uganda-India Investment and Business Luncheon in Kampala organised by Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), the chief investment promotion agency of the Government of Uganda.
The luncheon, which attracted government and business leaders, was aimed at discussing investment, business and economic relations between Uganda and India, as well as countries accredited to New Delhi, the capital of India. Minister Muraleedharan said Indian business people have played and are still playing a significant role in the development of Uganda, adding that the bilateral relationship between India and Uganda shall, as he put it, “continue to become more intense, more engaging and will definitely have positive impact in different areas”. He said both governments will work collaboratively to iron out any bottlenecks hindering trade and investment between the two countries like two lines of credit which remain unimplemented and projects yet to get started. Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello-Oryem, said the historical and economic relationship between Uganda and India is incomparable, describing it as “very special and cordial”. Minister Okello-Oryem said UIA and Uganda Revenue Authority should popularize investment opportunities and incentives in Uganda to Indian investors and business people in order to attract more. Okello-Oryem also told UIA to not only focus on big investors and businesses but the small ones too in order to challenge Ugandans and get them into cottage industries.
The Deputy Director General of UIA, Paul Kyalimpa, said India is the second source country for investments in Uganda, noting that in the last five years UIA licensed 228 Indian investment projects valued at 464.5 million dollars and created 19,572 jobs. The major sectors are manufacturing, agriculture, construction, healthcare, real estate and education. Kyalimpa said in 2020, Uganda imported goods worth 959 million dollars from India and exported to India products worth 56 million dollars, mainly agro products like coffee, tea, oil seeds and vegetables, adding that there is room for more exports to India. He encouraged Indian investors to take advantage of Uganda’s vast investment opportunities in areas like agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, mining and mineral beneficiation, tourism and construction, as well as the generous incentives. The Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Ajay Kuma, said India and Uganda have lots in common and will continue to harness investment and business synergies in many areas.