A delegation of French businesses is on a two day visit to Uganda to assess the available investment opportunities.
Over 30 French companies under their umbrella organization MEDEF (Movement of French Enterprises), about it which is the largest employer federation in France arrived on Wednesday and are set to meet with President Museveni today, Thursday.
The mission to Uganda follows an invitation to the businesses by President Yoweri Museveni while he was visiting France in September last year.
Led by Mr. Momar Nguer who is Chairman MEDEF’s Easter Africa Business Council, the delegation consists of companies in the sectors of; engineering, construction, building and works, oil and gas, finance and ICT.
On Thursday, the group was briefed on Uganda’s economy by the private sector before visiting some local manufacturers; Cipla, Bolloré Africa Logistics and Roofings Ltd.
While speaking at a cocktail organized by the French embassy on Thursday evening, France’s Ambassador to Uganda H.E Stephanie Rivoal welcomed the delegation adding that commerce would further the existing mutual friendship between the two countries.
“When two countries trade, they both gain. Peace and friendship between countries is strengthened by mutually beneficial trade,” the French Ambassador said.
Rivoal described Uganda as naturally endowed and as a promising country whose economy is on a trajectory of success, with a projected growth of 6.5% by 2021.
She urged the French companies to leverage the diplomatic relations and networks that France has established so as to do business.
“France won’t be shy to invest here in Uganda and the best way to do it is by understanding the context, do proper due diligence and train local capacity.”
On his part, Momar Nguer the head of delegation said that the decision to visit Uganda was largely inspired by President Museveni’s ‘appealing’ and ‘impressive’ presentation while he met with MEDEF in France.
“Unlike other Heads of State who come to France and consider meeting the business community as a waste of time, President Museveni spared time and made an appealing presentation to us stipulating Uganda’s priorities,” Nguer said in his remarks.
The potential investors, he added, are also driven by Uganda’s spirit of conquering the East African region and the possibilities that lie in the over 150 million population. “French companies are known for their pioneering spirit, innovation capabilities and ability to forge partnerships.”
Minister of Trade and Industry, Amelia Kyambadde was represented at the event by Amos Lugolobi, Chairman of the Budget Committee in Parliament. In her message, the Minister wooed the investors to position themselves in the energy sector given the growing demand as Uganda industrializes.
“It is estimated that the potential generation capacity including solar power is 100 telawatts which is a great business opportunity. Uganda is looking for alternative sources of energy where France is a leader,” Kyambadde said.
Currently, there are about 34 French companies already established in Uganda in sectors of oil and gas, infrastructure development, travel and insurance. According to Ambassador Rivoal, up to 18,000 jobs for the local population have been created by these companies.