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Lessons for African Countries: Insights from Uganda’s Presidential Investors Conference

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s recent Presidential Investors Conference in Uganda offers valuable lessons for African nations seeking to boost their socio-economic development through investment. Three key takeaways stand out:

Focus on Value Addition in Agriculture:

President Museveni emphasized the importance of commercial agriculture as a foundation for economic growth. He highlighted success stories in sectors like milk production, where Uganda transitioned from importing powdered milk to producing 5 billion liters annually. The lesson for other African countries lies in encouraging and supporting local farmers to engage in commercial agriculture, providing raw materials for processing industries.

“The raw materials are in commercial agriculture… This is one cluster of opportunities to add value to products like coffee, fruits, cereals, and more.”

Government Support and Organization:

Museveni underlined the government’s commitment to supporting investors, injecting USD 230 million into the Uganda Development Bank. However, he emphasized that the issue is not just about money but also about organization and linkage. African countries should prioritize creating a conducive business environment, providing financial support, and ensuring efficient coordination between investors and relevant ministries.

“The problem is not money, the problem is organization and linkage.”

Infrastructure and Industrial Parks:

Investing in infrastructure is a crucial step towards attracting investors. Museveni urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the 25 industrial parks across Uganda, offering free land for those willing to establish factories. This highlights the significance of providing essential infrastructure and incentives to attract and sustain investment.

“Once you handle the issue of money, then the other issue is infrastructure… Those who want to work, the industrial park land is available free of charge.”

African countries can learn from Uganda’s approach to fostering a conducive investment climate by emphasizing value addition in agriculture, providing government support and organization, and investing in infrastructure and industrial parks. These insights can guide policymakers in creating environments conducive to sustainable economic development.

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