Acholi Land Has Vast Untapped Opportunities
His Highness will woo investors in the region which is blessed with vast fertile land that can be used for commercial farming, agro-processing, and is rich in minerals and oil.
“This makes it a potential region for both local and international investors,” said Willy Mutenza, the chairman of Uganda Convention in UK.
“The region has also potential for tourism development resulting from its natural beauties such as the Kidepo Valley National Park, Alikoa pyramids and cultural tourism in traditional and cultural foods,” Mutenza noted.
A new day has come for the people of Northern Uganda. For over 20 years, Northern Uganda has been plagued with war and civil strife that led to hundreds of people being displaced, businesses collapsing, as well as untold poverty and misery.
Today, however, this region wakes up to renewed hope.
The war is over and life is slowly returning to normal as people try to rebuild their lives, re-establish small businesses and send their children to school.
Traditionally, the Northern region’s economy was dependent on agriculture, specifically livestock
rearing and food crops. With large-scale displacement spanning a decade, this is no longer the case and, until recently, production has been very low. Instead, a population that previously provided the rest of Uganda with basic foodstuffs became dependent on food aid.
However, since the end of the insurgency in 2006 it is regaining its former glory as the food basket of Uganda with major focus on cash crops like Maize, Sorghum, Soyabeans, Sunflower, Simsim, Groundnuts, Cotton, Coffee (Nebbi), fruits and vegetables, and tobacco.
Looking ahead to longer-term development, there are a number of sectors offering potential for
more significant levels of economic growth and prosperity. As well as opportunities, however, there
are also risks that the way in which different sectors are approached may aggravate long standing and
current conflict dynamics in the region.
Land acquisition for investment in this context is highly sensitive and runs the risk of quickly becoming politicised, as Northern leaders seek to articulate and protect the interests of their people, as well as their own interests
Sectors with potential for economic growth in Northern Uganda include; Commercial Agriculture, Dairy and beef production, Fruits and vegetables, Cross-border trade with Sudan (also DRC and wider region), Property market, Construction, Wholesale and retailing of general merchandise and consumer goods, Financial services, Health and education, Tourism, Minerals.
The most promising investment opportunities in the region are to be found in commercial agriculture – in part as a result of the effects of the conflict, which destroyed most other infrastructure in the region. More often than not, the communal owners of the majority of the land in Northern Uganda do not have the capacity at the moment to use the land optimally, and there is a dire need for a large input of capital in order to make it productive. Rudimentary and retrogressive methods of working the land are not sufficient to address the poor development indicators of the region. However, many forms of commercial agriculture require large tracts of land.
Investors need to be aware of the legal framework governing land in Uganda, and of the tenure systems that have hitherto been practiced by societies in the north.
About the Uganda Convention (UCUK).
Following the phenomenal success of the London Convention last September (which attracted over 1,500 delegates, the Convention is back again in September this year on the 10 September at Troxy Arena. Delegates will have access to up-to-date information on the vast potential for investment that Uganda offers to both the domestic and international community. They can acquire business tips, obtain relevant literature on priority sectors for investment, take part in an interactive Q & A session and hear about the realities of doing business in Uganda.
The keynote speaker is Rt. Hon. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Uganda Government with other speakers include Lord Popat, Trade Envoy to Uganda, King of Bunyoro, His Highness Solomon Iguru 1, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Kampala Capital City Authority, ministers and senior officials, chief executive officers and chairmen.
The theme of the Convention is “Why Invest in Uganda Now? Enhancing Investment for Job and Wealth Creation”. Uganda continues to record remarkable economic growth. According to the latest report by the Centre for International Development (CID) at Harvard University, Uganda’s economy is projected to grow at an average annual growth projection of 7% over the next decade. At this growth rate, Uganda is projected to be the fastest growing economy in the Africa Region, and among the top 4 fastest growing economies in the world behind India at 7.9%.
The Convention addresses the essential need-to-know topics most prevalent to Uganda, such as opportunities within the priority sectors; infrastructure development, Power & Energy, Health-care, Agriculture & Agri-business, Real Estate, tourism, increasing intra-regional trade and developing risk mitigation strategies through collaborations and private equity, and VC finance access.