A National Resistance Movement (NRM) honcho living in the United Kingdom is smiling from ear to ear like the proverbial dog after holding a scandal-free investors’ conference over the weekend.
Sources in the UK informed our Inspectors that the UK-Uganda Investment & Trade Summit 2022 was organised by London-based top NRM supporter Willy Mutenza at Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel and has since left tongues wagging following its huge success.
It should be noted that for some time now, most Ugandan-themed social and related events have been persistently blighted by protestors from mainly the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) who stage heckling matches at such events to shame and insult dignitaries from Uganda over corruption and human rights abuse related accusations.
For the first time, however, last Saturday’s investors’ summit took place without incident, a credit attendees attributed to the excellent ground work which was done by organizers led by Mutenza.
“We expected these protestors to cause their usual chaos but we’re happy and shocked that nothing of the sort happened. I think that’s because the organisers did good ground work, which has helped us to have a very successful event done amidst total peace and civility,” noted one of the attendees who preferred to be identified only as David.
Ironically, the event was highly publicized, with a host of Ugandan dignitaries led by President Yoweri Museveni and strategically selected ministers invited for the event.
But whereas president Museveni pulled out of the event at the last minute, a couple of ministers including Frank Tumwebaze among others attended the event and made landmark presentations concerning the country’s investment potential.
Speaking at the event, Mutenza explained that the common goal of the attendees at the Convention was to contribute to the economic growth of Uganda, and support its potential and its ambitions to become a middle-income country by 2030.
“Our aim is to offer a platform where prominent industry leaders and investors can come together and forge new business deals which can lead to concrete investment in bankable projects and reinforce economic relationships between the UK and Uganda, as well as the entire East African Community,” Mutenza said.
He added that the convention is packaged in a way which makes it packed with expert advice and knowledge from world leading speakers, investors, investment experts and suppliers, thus making it stand out as the most important summit for businesses looking to set up overseas operations in Uganda and the EAC.
This explains why this year the president himself was invited so that he could tell the Ugandan true story in terms of investment opportunities and synergies that can be exploited and forged by UK investors back home in Uganda.
“It was deliberate that the president was flanked by mainly ministers whose dockets are directly attached to the various investment areas of interest. What we wanted to achieve is for them to provide accurate and direct information to the investors,” Mutenza explained, revealing that the major sectors focused on at the convention were: mining, agro value addition, real estate, tourism, oil and gas, energy, and industrialization.
Apart from the ministers, the convention was also graced by Ugandan investment experts and technocrats among whom included Robert Mukiza, the Director General Uganda Investment Authority, Rosemary Kisembo, the Executive Director National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA), Prof. Pamela Mbabazi, the Chairperson National Planning Authority, Michael Karokora Mugabi, Managing Director, Housing Finance Bank (HFB), Peace Ayebazibwe Kabunga, the Executive Director Finance at Housing Finance Bank, Brenda Katarikawe Opus, the Senior Export Marketing Executive Uganda Export Promotion Board, and Dr. Ibrahim Semaganda, the Managing Director Buildnet, mong others.
These were joined by a contingent of UK-based investment gurus led by Amin Mawji OBE, Diplomatic Representative – Aga Khan Development Network and Richard Burge, the Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others.
As per the organisation, each investment opportunity was tagged to an investment promoter whose full details and contact information was provided to facilitate timely follow-ups and information provision to prospective investors.
For instance, Hope Waira was put in charge of infrastructure investment, Martin Muhangi for Bus Rapid Transit Project and Irene Ssagala for Phosphate Rock Project in Busuku, Manafwa district. Other investment promoters for the other investment lines include Robina Magoba, Ritah N Mugula, among others.
Key among this information was: available investment opportunities, their cost estimates in terms of required input and expected returns as well as investment enablers such as available market estimates and related social amenities to support the success of the stated projects.
Odrek rwabwogo gave the key note speech in the president’s absence, while for entertainment of guests, afrigo band was in the house to calm the investors with their soothing tunes.