Hon. Amelia Anne Kyambadde, Minister of Trade and Industry, highlights new policies and progresses that are deepening the trade and building industry in Uganda.
European Times: What are some of your ministry’s accomplishments in your first year as Minister of Trade and Industry?
Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda has, over the past 26 years, registered consistent economic growth, averaging over 5% per annum. We believe that this has been possible through a prudent macro-economic policy framework, a liberal private sector and enhanced institutional structures, such as trade-related bodies, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Uganda Industrial Research Institute.
We have eliminated many trade barriers and are educating our traders around customs laws as one of the means of controlling smuggling. We are also developing stronger anti-counterfeiting regulations.
European Times: Is your ministry promoting trade with other African nations?
Amelia Kyambadde: Certainly. During my one year tenure, I have focussed on deepening our regional base through the EAC Common Market and the COMESA Free Trade Agreement. In fact, Uganda’s regional trade now accounts for over 40% of its export.
European Times: What challenges does your Ministry face?
Amelia Kyambadde: The biggest challenge for our sector is non-tariff barriers for regional trade and limited access to value-added products for Western and European markets. It is therefore important that our partners in Europe share our challenge of adding value to products and encouraging more favourable market access.
European Times: Why should international investors target Uganda?
Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda’s strategic location in the heart of the Great Lakes means it is ideally situated for regional trade. Rather than being a disadvantage, the fact that we are land-locked has been a blessing.
This country is also endowed with a favourable climate and fertile soil conditions. The potential to become the regional food-basket is certainly there.
“Uganda’s regional trade now accounts for over 40% of its export.”
In addition, Uganda offers skilled, low-cost labour, a liberalised foreign currency regime and an attractive business climate across sectors. The government provides a number of incentives, including freedom from corporate tax for ten years to new foreign companies in Uganda. Our outlook is strong. We anticipate a 6% growth rate in the coming year, thanks to greater energy efficiency; new pro-business policies; political stability; and continued improvements in infrastructure.
I strongly believe that with the government’s strategic investment in key areas in the coming years, the economy will see continued robust growth of value-added products. And that, I have no doubt, is where the greatest returns will be.