MTN Uganda in collaboration with key South African businesses in Uganda and key local institutions including Absa Bank Uganda, Sanlam, Nile Breweries Limited, Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, DFCU Bank, MultiChoice Uganda and Woolworths have partnered to support the Uganda government attract foreign direct investment through the upcoming Uganda-South Africa trade and investment summit.
The two-day summit to be held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo starting September 5th to 6th follows a similar summit held in South Africa in February this year. Ms Sylvia Mulinge, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Uganda, a subsidiary of MTN Group based in South Africa and the lead sponsor of the summit, said MTN’s decision to support the summit and rally other key South African businesses and local institutions in Uganda was a response to an ask made by His Excellence the President of the republic of Uganda and its commitment to working with the government to facilitate the country’s social and economic development.
“MTN is here today in fulfilment of President Yoweri Museveni’s ask and commitment made during the first leg of the Uganda-South Africa trade and investment summit held in South Africa in February this year, in which our head of state tasked successful South African Businesses in Uganda to mobilize more South African companies to come and invest in Uganda especially in Agro-Industrialization, manufacturing and tourism to boost the economy, create more jobs and improve the country’s balance of trade,” she said.
“MTN’s mantra this year is together we are unstoppable, hinged on our belief in the power of collaboration. We believe that we can achieve a faster social and economic transformation when private sector players partner with the government in support of the countries’ National Development,” she added.
The summit is meant to attract South African investors into Uganda, in the areas of Agro- industrialization, steel manufacturing, tourism and the energy sector. This comes as available statistics from the Bank of Uganda show that the value of the country’s exports to the South African nation continues to grow albeit at a slow pace doubling to US$ 21.24 million in the past 10 years up to 2022.
However, the value of South Africa’s exports to Uganda decreased from US$ 251.6 million to US$ 127.6 million during the same period. According to Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda’s exports to South Africa include cotton, gold, fish fillets, tobacco, coffee, and fresh flowers. On the other hand, South Africa’s exports to Uganda include machinery, vehicles, plastics, chemicals, electronics, parts and accessories, petroleum, live animals, books and newsprint, textiles, footwear, aircraft, and household goods.
Commenting on the initiative, Absa Bank Uganda Managing Director, Mumba Kalifungwa said as a banking partner with a presence in both markets, key to their agenda will be using their financial solutions and expertise to foster linkages for both Ugandan and South African based organisations to do business with each other.
“This, we will do through tailor-made solutions that meet the specific needs of businesses that are key to economic growth – including agro-processing, manufacturing and trade, among others,” he said.
Ruth Namuli, General Manager, Corporate at Sanlam General Insurance Uganda said “As a leading insurance group in Africa, we are confident that the summit’s insights will complement our efforts to develop insurance products that meet the specific requirements of businesses and individuals in Uganda and South Africa. In addition, we seek to empower communities to live with confidence through our contribution to sector-wide economic growth by promoting financial stability and sustainable growth.”
Andrew Mashanda, the Chief Executive of SUHL said, “We are always pleased to partner with fellow South African businesses to do good and promote the intra-Africa trade and investment spirit on the continent. The upcoming Uganda-South Africa trade and investment summit is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our commitment to the purpose that drives our business—driving Uganda’s growth.” dfcu Bank’s CEO and Managing Director, Charles Mudiwa, said the lender is committed to fostering economic growth and development in Uganda, which aligns perfectly with the objectives of the forthcoming summit.
“Collaborations between South African and Ugandan businesses are crucial for the success of the investment summit and dfcu Bank stands ready to facilitate these partnerships by providing financial advisory services, access to capital, and networking opportunities,” he said.
MultiChoice Uganda’s Managing Director, Hassan Saleh said Multichoice aims to use the summit as a stepping stone to further promote African content and talent.
“This summit is an opportunity to showcase where business, agriculture, tourism, oil & gas meet film and as a business, we are dedicated to investing in local productions and fostering a vibrant creative industry that celebrates the unique cultural identities of both countries across the different sectors participating in the summit,” he said.
Nile Breweries Country Director, Adu Rando, said they are excited by this opportunity to showcase Uganda’s potential in the agri-industrialization space. “Nile Breweries has invested greatly in the agricultural value chain, sourcing all its inputs; barley, sorghum, cassava and maize for its beer from local farmers,” he said.
John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Affairs commented MTN Uganda for bringing together various private sector players to ensure that the summit is a success.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that all the non-tariff barriers are eliminated and a conducive business environment is in place for the growth of businesses,” he said.