China and Uganda seek new efforts to boost trade, economic ties

A group of 30 Chinese entrepreneurs on Wednesday concluded their three-day trip to Uganda to look for business opportunities.

Uganda has held several Chinese investment forums with the aim of persuading the Asian country that it is among the best investment destinations in Africa.

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), a state agency charged with investment promotion, said on Tuesday that its 2016-21 strategic plan places a lot of emphasis on collaboration with China in the development of industrial parks and the setting up of science, technology and innovation parks.

“Uganda aims to graduate to middle-income status by 2020 and first-class economy by 2040. In order to attain this target, the government is committed to providing the enabling environment for business because Uganda strives to make this a private sector-led economy,” UIA acting executive director Basil Ajer told the visiting delegation.

“The economy is well regulated and highly liberalized with all sectors open for investment. The incentive regime is structurally included in the country’s tax law, which makes it non-discriminatory and accessible to both domestic and foreign investments, ” he said.

He said China has ranked among the top two sources of Uganda’s foreign direct investment since 2011 and that up to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Chinese investments have been licensed, translating to 45,000 jobs.

“There is still a lot that can be achieved if both countries directed their energies in areas of mutual interest,” he added.

Speaking at the business forum, Lyu Xinhua, chairman of the Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation (CPSSC), said from their brief stay, members of the delegation have observed that Uganda’s investment climate, legal frameworks, affordable labor and infrastructure makes the country more attractive to Chinese investors.

“I have got the feedback from the (Chinese) companies and they are all expressing satisfaction with Uganda’s current investment situation,” he said.

He said the CPSSC is going to work with Uganda’s embassy in Beijing and the Chinese embassy in Kampala to explore possibilities where Chinese enterprises will invest in Uganda.

“We will be leading (Chinese) companies to Uganda to investigate possible business opportunities and potential projects that they can invest in,” Lyu said.

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