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EU allocates Uganda UGX 852 billion, Entrepreneurs pitch for UGX 60 billion investments

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Ms Myriam Ferran, EU International Partnerships Deputy Director General.

Ms Myriam Ferran, EU International Partnerships Deputy Director General.

The 3rd Uganda-European Union Business Forum concluded March 7, 2024 with a key highlight the launch of eight projects with a total financial envelope of over €200 million designed to support small business owners, young female entrepreneurs, agribusinesses as well as vital digital infrastructure projects in Uganda.

The EU funded projects are designed to boost Uganda’s economy and create new jobs, said Ms Myriam Ferran, EU International Partnerships Deputy Director General.

“These projects bring innovative solutions using new financing instruments such as guarantees, blending, and a variety of business development services and financial products, such as concessional and zero interest loans or technical assistance grants. These projects illustrate the new era of our partnership with Uganda, with an increased focus on trade and investments, as opposed to traditional aid-and developing the Ugandan private sector,” she said.

State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite expressed her delight at the successful conclusion of the Forum, and said Uganda remains a favourable investment destination.

State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite expressed her delight at the successful conclusion of the Forum, and said Uganda remains a favourable investment destination.

During the high-level Business Forum organised under the theme “Boosting Trade and Investment. What can Uganda gain from the Global Gateway?” compelling pitches were delivered by 30 Ugandan companies to European investors for a total investment value of at least €14 million (60 billion UGX).

The event provided opportunity for 100 Structured Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings between European investors and Ugandan entrepreneurs, across three days of meetings at the Speke Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo in Uganda’s capital Kampala.

The 3rd edition of the Forum lived to its billing as the largest and most influential joint Uganda-EU event on doing business and investing in the country, registering 3600 registrations, including 900 physical participants, 90 exhibitors and a large audience following online.

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni attended the Forum as Chief Guest, together with several high level Government of Uganda officials, while Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja officiated the Forum’s closure, a gesture that underscores the collective public and private Uganda-EU commitment to strengthen economic ties.

During the Forum, President Museveni met a select group of European investors and discussed the challenges and opportunities of investing in Uganda.

President Museveni met a select group of European investors, and discussed the challenges and opportunities of investing in Uganda.

President Museveni met a select group of European investors, and discussed the challenges and opportunities of investing in Uganda.

A portal to support the private sector and Ugandan entrepreneurs deal with challenges related to access to finance was launched on the final day of the Forum.

“Over the past three days, we have witnessed captivating dialogues on the vast opportunities and pressing challenges within trade and investment between Uganda and the 27 EU Member States. Our commitment to facilitating economic growth was underscored by the launch of several tangible initiatives aimed at providing direct funding to micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises in priority sectors of Uganda,” said EU Ambassador to Uganda Jan Sadek.

The Uganda-EU Business Forum was organised by the EU Delegation to Uganda together with its Member States, in partnership with the Government of Uganda, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), under the Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U) Team Europe Initiative.

State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite expressed her delight at the successful conclusion of the Forum, and said Uganda remains a favourable investment destination. “Uganda is the top number one investment destination in East Africa with return on investment of 13.8% in 2022. The country is blessed with a young hardworking and trainable population and is blessed with all the raw materials needed for industrial use,” she said.

The Forum placed special attention to key economic sectors that offer significant opportunities for European investors to develop partnerships with entrepreneurs in Uganda including in Agribusiness, Sustainable Mining, Enabling Infrastructure and Sustainable Tourism.

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The EU is one of the leading development partners for Uganda, not only contributing to Uganda’s development objectives through official development assistance but also through private sector investments and through trade.

Representatives from various European nations, including France, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and others, attended the forum.

PSFU Chair Mr Humphrey Nzeyi.

PSFU Chair Mr Humphrey Nzeyi.

“Uganda has lots of trade advantages with Europe and we are happy to build and facilitate this engagement between the private sector from both Europe and Uganda. The Forum was quite timely and presented a fantastic opportunity for big corporates, MSMEs, Women and Youth to meet and network with potential investors from all over the EU,” said PSFU Chair Mr Humphrey Nzeyi.

“While global challenges, including, geopolitical tensions, and inflationary pressures, pose uncertainties, Uganda remains committed to fostering economic cooperation and connectivity, particularly with the European Union (EU),” said UIA Chair Mr Morrison Rwakakamba. “Our proactive approach involves implementing pro-business policies to attract investments and enhance regional trade. We believe substantial wealth creation lies in five core areas: commercial agriculture and agro-processing, mineral value addition, tourism, manufacturing, and enabling Infrastructure,” he added.

Uganda and European Union officials addressing reporters who covered the Uganda-EU Business Forum

Uganda and European Union officials addressing reporters who covered the Uganda-EU Business Forum

Background: Key highlights of the EU-funded projects launched

Investments in Female Entrepreneurs

The “Investing in Young Women-Led Entrepreneurs Business in Africa” initiative launched on March 6 secures €40 million from 11 EU Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and AEDFI, supporting young entrepreneurs, fostering job creation, and promoting business growth in 8 Sub-Saharan countries. Additionally, a €50 million investment from the EU and Belgium targets enhancing employability, particularly for vulnerable youth and women in Uganda. It aims to improve access to green and decent employment opportunities.

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Investments in Housing and Human Rights

The EIB and Housing Finance Bank of Uganda announced a partnership with a €25 million EIB loan focusing on supporting private sector entities, especially SMEs. With a gender focus, at least half of the funds will benefit businesses owned or run by women or those serving women.

The “Advancing Respect for Business and Human Rights (ARBHR) in Uganda” project with Belgium, with a EUR 5 million budget, aims to reduce human rights abuses in Ugandan businesses, particularly

those affecting women, through awareness-raising, civil society advocacy, and institutional capacity enhancement.

Investments in Digital Infrastructure

The European Investment Bank supports the construction of more than 500 new telecom towers in rural Uganda with a €25 million loan. TOWERCO will enhance mobile network coverage with the objective of ensuring last mile connectivity up to the most underserved regions, and enable access to 4G and 5G data services, as well as mobile money solutions. The goal is to promote digital empowerment and economic advancement in Uganda with sustainable infrastructure development, including the use of renewable energy sources like solar power.

Investments in Sustainable Agriculture

The START Facility, funded with €11.5 million, supports Ugandan agribusinesses through concessional loans, technical assistance grants, and credit guarantees. The €50 million EIB loan to Centenary Rural Development Bank (CERUDEB) benefits microentrepreneurs, especially women, aiming for nearly 2 million loans over seven years. The €12 million EU and Denmark investment in the Agricultural Business Initiative (ABI) aids 200,000 Ugandan farmers in improving climate resilience and productivity via matching grants and Business Development Services (BDS).

EU Head of Delegation Jan Sadek, EU Partnerships Dep. Director Myriam Ferran, President Yoweri Museveni and UNCDF Head of Country office, Sophie De Coninck

EU Head of Delegation Jan Sadek, EU Partnerships Dep. Director Myriam Ferran, President Yoweri Museveni and UNCDF Head of Country office, Sophie De Coninck

Global Gateway

The EU Global Gateway strategy provides the framework for the EU’s external action. It is the EU’s positive offer to partner countries aiming to narrow the global investment gap with value-driven investments from public and private sectors, support global economic recovery and accompany the twin green and digital transitions outside the EU. Across the world, Global Gateway aims to mobilise up to €300 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 with a mix of grants, concessional loans and guarantees to de-risk private sector investments.






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