Uganda is among 192 countries that are exhibiting at the 2020 Dubai World Expo, which began on October 1 and will run up to March 31 in Dubai.
President Museveni flew to the Arab nation at the start of the expo to join a delegation of Ugandans that is there to pitch investors the viable sectors the East African nation has opened to foreign capital.
President Museveni on Sunday officiated at the opening ceremony of the Uganda National Day and told investors that the country was "ripe for investment, ready for profit-driven business, and the time is right NOW."
The President has also met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the Emirate of Abudhabi, who promised to visit Uganda in January 2022.
The Chairman of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Board Morrison Rwakakamba said they met with a team from Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech, a pharmaceutical company that will today sign a $50 million deal before President Museveni to invest here.
According to Rwakakamba, Bruce Gurfein, the chief executive of Connect LLC, a 60-year-old company based in UAE, presented a plan to invest $500 million in Uganda.
Dogyap, a Turkish agro-processing company, has plans to establish an agro-industrial business park with facilities to process and export into the European Union as a primary market, according to the UIA chairman.
The UIA Director General Robert Mukiza has said they can now issue investment licences within an hour and they plan to seal deals worth $700m this week.
"We hope to attract at least $4bn by the end of the expo," he said.
According to Mukiza, his team met with Harshad Modha, the chief executive of Modha Investments, who will sign agro-investments deals worth $150M.
The UIA director also revealed that they met Chandra Singh, the director of Elite Agro, a leader in agricultural investments in the UAE and they will "sign initial investments of USD 20M for agro-processing".
UIA says Uganda has over 70 bankable projects ready for investment in different sectors.
Uganda, whose pavilion is located at the 225 opportunity district at the expo, had its flag displayed at the Burj Khalifa, in honour of the national day.
This World Expo happens every after five years and in 2025 it will be held in Osaka, Japan.
UIA plans to establish five industrial parks each year, totaling 25 in 2025. The Authority and National Enterprises Corporation (NEC), acting on a Cabinet position, have agreed that the UPDF Engineering Brigade builds the industrial parks.
This will reduce cost by about 70 per cent, ensuring value for money, quality and timely completion of the parks.
Through the industrial parks, there would be increased production of hitherto imported goods hence import substitution and preservation of foreign exchange, boost in exports, creation of jobs and wealth,” UIA has said.
“There would also be increase in government revenues, boost in aggregate demand which translates into more money in circulation, heightened economic activity, economic growth, economic development and transformation of Uganda.”
The Authority said in April that 413 investors in the industrial park space had already created about 45,000 direct jobs and 180,000 indirect jobs after pumping $3.5 billion in the sector.
The implementation of its new strategic plan for the years 2020/2021-2024/25 is expected to create direct and indirect 650,000 jobs by the year 2025. Nine public industrial parks have already been set up in Namanve, Bweyogerere, Luzira, Kasese, Mbarara SME, Jinja, Mbale, Soroti and Karamoja.
Other five private industrial parks are in Kapeeka, Lugazi, Buikwe and Mukono. As of December 2020, UIA had licensed 7,763 investment projects in various sectors, including manufacturing.
The bulk of the 4,200-plus manufacturing industries (factories) in Uganda have been licensed by UIA. Products from the industries are in both local and export markets. They include items like transformers, steel products, vehicles, electronics, plastic products, paper products, sugar and other processed foods, building materials, soaps and detergents, textiles and apparels, footwear, leather products, beverages, minerals, amongst others.
Uganda ranks second after Kenya in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in East Africa. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2020 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Uganda reached a record high of 1.3 billion dollars in 2019, a 20-percent increase from one billion dollars in 2018.