Uganda is among leading producers of coffee and bananas. It is also a major producer of tea, cotton (including organic cotton), tobacco, cereals, oilseeds (simsim, soya, sunflower, etc), fresh and preserved fruit, vegetables and nuts, essential oils, orchids, flowers and sericulture (silk). Opportunities include commercial farming and value addition, as well as the manufacture of inputs and supply of agricultural machinery.
Fish and fish products are the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda in the non-traditional exports category with export revenues amounting to USD 127.7 million in 2010. Large fresh water expanses are home to a wide variety of fish products. Opportunities are available for fish farming and establishment of more fish processing factories on other lakes other than Lake Victoria. Uganda’s fish is a delicacy in Europe and has recently penetrated the US market.
With over 4.9 million hectares of rich forest vegetation, Uganda possesses abundant potential in areas like timber processing for export, manufacturing of high quality furniture, wood products and various packaging materials. There are also opportunities in afforestation and reforestation especially of medical trees and plants, soft wood plantations for timber, pulp and poles.
Uganda’s manufacturing sector has grown steadily over the last five years at an estimated average of 7.7% annually. Opportunities exist in virtually all areas ranging from beverages, leather; tobacco based processing, paper, textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, fabrication, ceramics, glass, fertilizers, plastics/PVC, assembly of electronic goods, hi-tech and medical products.
Uganda has large under-exploited mineral deposits of gold, oil, high grade tin, tungsten/wolfram, salt, beryllium, cobalt, kaolin, iron-ore, glass sand, vermiculite and phosphates (fertilizers). A discovery of petroleum wells in Lake Albert region has enhanced the sector’s joie de vivre. There are also significant quantities of clay and gypsum. Uganda provides special incentives to the mining sector with some capital expenditures being written off in full.
Although significant efforts have been made to develop and rehabilitate the existing physical and non-physical infrastructure, potential investment opportunities still abound. In particular, transport & logistics and energy sectors still require further investment. With less than 10% of the mainstream capacity of 2,700 megawatts of power exploited, Uganda has the potential to be a major supplier of hydro electric power to the entire East Africa region.
Opportunities for investment exist for international multinational banking groups particularly promoting new or innovative financial products (i.e Mortgage finance, venture capitals, merchant banking and leasing finance) and also micro finance saving institutions, which propose to operate in rural areas. Insurance, in particular, is still a relatively young sector and offer several opportunities for investment.
The distinctive attraction of Uganda as a tourist destination arises from the variety of its game stock and its unspoiled scenic beauty. Within a relatively limited space of just over 240,000 square kilometers, Uganda offers an interesting contrast from the wide east African plains and expansive savanna grasslands to the impenetrable, mountain rain forests and snow peaked mountains in the south western parts of the country.
Uganda offers a wide range of bird species for viewing in addition to numerous sporting opportunities such as mountain climbing and water sports including white water rafting. The opportunities in tourism range from constructing high quality accommodation facilities, operating tours and travel circuits to the developments of specialized eco-tourism.
Printing and Publishing
In the printing and publishing sub-sector, opportunities exist for the printing of textbooks for schools. Currently, imports supply over 90% of Uganda’s textbook requirement (estimated at over USD 7million a year). Investment opportunities therefore exist in the various type of printing including flexography, screen printing, off-set printing and digital printing. Other opportunities include electronic printing magnetograph, thermo graphic printing, ion deposition printing and direct charge deposition printing.
Uganda runs high courses at a relatively cheaper cost than other education destinations and is dedicated to making investment in the country’s knowledge hub a unique experience and a win-win situation for both investors and students. Investmentopportunities therefore exist in Uganda for setting upm of independent private universities and offshore campuses. Other areas of investments include technical &vocational training, technological-based education & distance education and student financing.
Information Communication Technology
Uganda’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is one of the most vibrant within the region. This vibrancy hinges largely on the good legal and regulatory frameworks. The supportive investment climate therein has exposed numerous opportunities in ICT innovation services leading to maximum utilization of existing youthful human resource base quite suitable for the ICT work. The newly developed and high qualitative ICT infrastructure is also ready to accommodate more future investments.
Opportunities in the ICT include establishment of information and communication infrastructure and broadband services, business process outsourcing services, computer and related equipment hardware assembly, high level ICT training facilities on international standards, ICT business service incubation, hardware repair training facilities, software development niches, setting up information technology virtual zones (ITVZ), and setting up Internet service provider facilities in other parts of Uganda.