With steady investment trends, Uganda’s job market is growing larger by the day
Six years ago, Fitz Patrick Waldman, CEO of a Company dealing in pharmaceutical products, decided to open a factory in Africa. Researching several destinations, one was clearly the most compelling: Uganda.
“The more I looked, the more it became obvious that Uganda was the place,” he said.
Six years later, his factory is buzzing with 60 employees and production output that far exceeds his best case scenarios.
Uganda indeed enjoys a unique location at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa within the East African region and lies astride the equator. The country is bordered by Sudan in the north, Kenya in the east, the United Republic of Tanzania in the south, Rwanda in the southwest and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. This land linked position, gives the country a strategic commanding base to be a regional hub for trade and investment. Uganda enjoys pivotal trade partnerships that create a viable market for business.
A potential investor considering investing in Uganda, will find a well regulated highly liberalized economy in which all sectors are open for investment and there is a free movement of capital to and from the country.
In an exclusive chat with Mr. Frank Sebbowa, the Executive Director Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda Sasa learnt that in an effort to boost investment quest in the country, government has injected a substantial amount of money to establish an industrial parks across the country to facilitate investors with ready land. “Over the years we have seen a steady inflow of investors streaming into the country, which is quite encouraging.Im hopeful that the country will remain stable even after elections for us to sustain the steady trends” he said.
The 2013 Index of Economic Freedom ranked Uganda, the 8th freest economy out of the 46 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. The business operating environment allows the full repatriation of profits after the mandatory taxes have been paid, as well as 100% foreign ownership of private investments. The incentive regime is structurally embedded in the country’s tax laws making them nondiscriminatory and accessible to both domestic and foreign investment depending on the sector and level of investment.
The minimum capital investment required for a foreign investor to be eligible to invest in the country in virtually any sector, apart from those that may compromise the country’s security, is US$100,000.
Uganda’s labour is highly trainable, English speaking and the cost compares favourably in Africa.
According to Ssebowa, return on investment is about 5% projected to increase to about 7% due to ongoing and planned infrastructural (roads, railway, energy) development that will ensue from the developments in the oil sector (refinery and crude oil export). Uganda’s GDP is between US$25 billion to US$26 billion, with stable economic growth averaging 5 to 7%.
Inflation has now stabilized to 6.6% after the global economic downturn against which the Uganda economy was resilient and continued to attract foreign direct investment during the period.
The country’s political and economic environment has been consistently improving and stable since 1986. Under the leadership of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Uganda has been able to be a political stabilising force in the region, which has provided a secure environment for business to thrive. Security of investment is also guaranteed under the Constitution of Uganda and the Investment Code 1991, as well as the major international investment related agreements / treaties to which Uganda is signatory.
In order to provide a conducive environment for doing business in Uganda, the government of Uganda has created a One Stop Centre (OSC) for business registration and licensing at the Uganda Investment Authority. The OSC also assists in tax advice and registration, immigration and work permit issues, land acquisition and verification, as well as environmental compliance and approvals. Accessing all these services under one roof saves the investor both time and money to have their projects licensed and implemented expeditiously.
According to UIA, a total of 350 projects were licensed in Uganda in 2015 and it’s anticipated that these will lead to creation of 46074 jobs and investment of US$ 1.3 million. The 2015 performance report from UIA indicates that a total of 109 projects originating from Uganda were licensed and these are expected to generate 30,156 jobs. These projects are expected to sink US$ 708.5 million.
Frank Ssebowa is optimistic that with these positive trends in the area of investment, the future for Uganda’s youths is bright.