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Monday, 12 July 2010 13:31

China Tops List of Foreign Direct Investors

By Doroth Nakaweesi

KAMPALA, Uganda, July 12 (The Monitor) - The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has named China as the leading foreign country investing in Uganda's economy, displacing the United Kingdom that topped previous Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) record for, at least, a decade.

 

China's investment quest in the financial year 2009/2010 saw UIA licence 31 projects worth Shs553.3 billion ($246 million).

 

UIA's Executive Director Maggie Kigozi said while releasing the annual investment report for the year 2009/2010, for the first time, China is Uganda's biggest foreign direct investor.

 

"We have seen the Chinese creep up slowly. Four years ago, the only Chinese investor we had was Fang Min of the Fang Fang and some few construction companies," Ms Kigozi said.

 

Credit crunch

 

She added; "But now more Chinese have come in. We have the biggest leather tanning industry in the region, food processing, construction, information and communication technology and real estate."

 

The UIA report indicated that in the year ending June 2010, from 340 projects that were licensed, 83,659 jobs have been planned.This is a 125 per cent increase from the 37,216 jobs envisaged in 2008/09 financial year.

 

The State Minister for Microfinance, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, said because of the global financial crisis challenges which affected investments; Uganda's investment value declined from $2.08 billion (Shs4.6 trillion) in 2008/09 to $1.6 billion (Shs3.6 trillion) in 2009/10.

 

"This was something which was beyond our control, because our leading investment sources the UK and the US, were severely hit by the crisis and we suffered the spill-over too," Ms Nankabirwa said.

 

Kenya emerged the second FDI with planned investments worth Shs463 million ($209 million) with 11 projects. Kenya also topped in the East Africa region followed by Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda respectively.

 

India, United Arab emirates (UAE), UK, Russia, Nigeria, Togo and Germany followed the top list respectively.

 

Jobs creation

 

Although the value was lower, an analysis of the priority sectors revealed that last year was successful as far as job creation and the adherence to the National Development Plan objectives are concerned.

 

"With at least 20,000 graduates coming out of our universities every year, and with increased emphasis on vocational training in various sectors, the problem of unemployment will soon be overcome," Ms Nankabirwa said.

 

She said, overall, the planned jobs licensed; the agricultural sector, for instance, recorded 25,558 planned jobs up from 5,196 in the previous year. Ms Nankabirwa said the jobs are projected to be created from 42 projects.

 

The report shows that the highest number of projects (127) licensed in 2009/10 were in the manufacturing sector and from these, UIA expects the highest number of planned jobs (24,103).

 

High performance in the manufacturing sector was followed by the construction; real estate and business services and agricultural sectors.

 

The report also ranked highly Uganda's cross-border investments between the East African partner states with Kenya placed at number three with planned investments worth $682 million, Tanzania at number 19 with $49 million, Burundi and Rwanda at Number 45 and 63 with planned investments worth $10 million and $2 million respectively.

 

The report, however, shows that Ugandans as the country's highest investors contributing 63 per cent of the 216 projects that were licenced in the year under preview.

 

Government interventions

 

"In light of this contribution, which cannot be ignored, the government has mandated the UIA to focus considerable efforts and facilitation resources to the development and sustenance of domestic investment," Ms Nankabirwa said.

 

She said as we move into the larger EAC Common Market, the government has put in place a number of interventions like infrastructure development and entrepreneur training to support and strengthen domestic investment.

 

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