ICI Organizes a Country Day for Uganda, the Growing Economy of Africa
Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) organized an event of Uganda Country Day and Investment Opportunities Seminar in order to assess the cooperation and investment opportunities in Uganda, the most significant country of Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. A board consisting of Ugandan business people participated in the event hosted by Kemal Akar, ICI Board of Directors Member in Odakule. Numerous industrialists and business people participated in the event and found opportunity to assess the opportunities in the country.
Kemal Akar, ICI Board of Directors Member who presented a speech at the beginning of the event said that they attach great importance to the improvement of the relations with Uganda which is the most significant country of the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region which have become the most efficient regions of the global geopolitics within the framework of African initiative by Turkey.
Mentioning that the bilateral trade volume which realized as approximately 40 million dollars in 2018 has an increasing tendency but in a significantly moderate level, Akar stated that high profile visits realized reciprocally from both countries create the driving force of the relations established and improved between Turkey and Uganda and the tangible reflection of the desire in this sense.
Reminding that Kampala Embassy started to operate in 2010 and Uganda Embassy in Ankara started to operate in 2011, Akar expressed that a fast improvement has been provided in the relations thanks to the establishment of reciprocal embassies. Akar stated that Turkish Airlines’ scheduling direct flights to Entebbe province of Uganda in 2010 is a significant indicator for the importance which they have attached for the country in terms of improvement of the bilateral commercial relations.
Mentioning that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkish Republic underlined the point that “If free trade agreement is signed, trade volume between both countries will increase in a short period.” in his board visit to Uganda in 2016 Akar said that when bilateral commercial relations are examined, Uganda’s import activities for various products points out to a potential market in terms of their export activities. Akar stated that Turkish product has a market advantage in Uganda thanks to their high quality and reasonable prices.
“Africa which has increased its importance in time and expected to use its influence in regional and global matters in the following years has great economical and commercial potential and because Uganda’s being at the verge of taking a big development step provides significant opportunities for our industrialists. Turkey which aims to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent within the scope of African initiative policy aims to improve bilateral relations with African countries on the basis of equal partnership and reciprocal advantages. As the industrialists, we should take the responsibility to improve our economic relations with Uganda further taking into consideration this basis.
George Innocent Oula, Uganda Parliament Member gave information about the country. Stating that a country with 40 million population has a young and low cost labor force, Oula said that majority of industrial products are imported. Expressing that they have an economy dominated by private sector, Oula told that raw material is exported without being processed and they are waiting for investors to process it. Stating that they are in need of agriculture equipment, Oula also notified the participants about their wish on processing the meat and fish products and establishing the food industry. Oula emphasized that Uganda is a large market and acts as a first step for those who are intended to access to the region countries.
Yücel Akova, Foreign Trade Specialist from T.R Ministry of Commerce said that Uganda is one of the fastest growing countries of Africa. Notifying that a political stability exists in the country and investment and capital has taken under guarantee through the bureaucratic regulations realized, Akova stated that the prosperity of the public will increase in the following period upon the exploration of petroleum and natural gas in the country. Stating that the country is mostly exporting gold, coffee, petroleum oils and sugar, Akova recorded that the country is mostly importing petroleum, medicine and palm oil.
Emmanuel Bakwega, Uganda Parliament Director informed the participants about the investment environment in Uganda. Stating that Uganda is a tropical country, Bakwega said that they are in need and expectation of investment in all sectors. Recording that the population between the ages of 18-35 consists of 60 percent of the total population, Bakwega told that agricultural products in the country are organic, which has a potential while the world is directing towards the organic food.
Sumaiah Fauziah from Vijana Agency said that Ugandan business people are very voluntary for reciprocal cooperation. Telling that they endeavor for increasing the trade volume between two countries, Fauziah stated that Chinese and Indian business people work in the field and invited Turkish business people to visit the country.
A panel titled with “Experiences of Turkish Firms in Uganda Market” chaired by Mehmet Akif Meral, Deputy Director of ICI EU and International Relations Branch was organized. Ercan Ata, President of DEIK Turkey-Uganda Business Council and Ersa Mobilya, Levent Serdar Dervişoğlu, CEO of 3-S Mühendislik Müşavirlik, Fikret Yıldırım, the Director of FKI Machine participated in the panel and shared their experiences with the participants. Questions directed by the participants were answered by the panelists following the panel. The event was ended with the bilateral negotiations of the business people from both countries.