By Watchdog reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has said that Uganda plans to open an investment office in Doha, Quatar to facilitate prospective investors with information on trade and investment opportunities and promote tourism in Uganda
The President was yesterday addressing a delegation of 60 members of the Quatar Chamber and Quatar Business association at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Doha, Quatar. The President accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni is in Doha on a 3-day State visit.
“Uganda will open an investment office in Doha. It will also work on the promotion of tourism. It will be part of Uganda’s Embassy in Quatar. There is free entry and exit of investors in our country. Let the Islamic Bank come to Uganda and save investors from the challenge of high interest rates,” he said.
He expressed his pleasure for having his first visit to Quatar and noted that he also went to Saudi Arabia for the first time, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
President Museveni observed that the Arab region was close to Africa, adding that not much trade was going on between the African continent and the Arab peninsula. He told the business community that the more the business we conduct, the more we shall prosper. He observed that there was need for the Arab region and Africa to work together, adding that Africa was a huge market that is growing.
He reminded them that the African continent has a population of 1.25 billion people adding that it was expected to increase to 2.5 billion in the next 5 years.
He said that by investing in Uganda, which has got a population of 40 million people, they do not only sell to us but to the East African region that is endowed with a population of 170 million people while the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa has got over 500 million people.
The President said Uganda has got trade agreements with the USA for zero tax rates for a total of 6,000 products, with the European Union for all products except arms and another agreement with China for 440 products.
“When you invest in Uganda you will sell up to the global level. We do not want Quatar to grow items but to process them. The areas where we need support and investment are the minerals development. We do not believe in exporting unprocessed minerals. You can invest in another iron ore processing industry since the one operated by the Chinese today produces 300,000 tons of steel per annum,” he said.
Museveni urged the Quatar community to work with Uganda to process the hematite steel that can be used for building infrastructure that includes dams in Uganda. He also encouraged them to engage in agro processing.
Uganda’s Ambassador to Quatar H.H. Dr. Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu saluted President Museveni for sparing time to meet the Chamber. He revealed that there were so many opportunities that could be worked on between the Government of Uganda and that of Quatar. He expressed his optimism that Uganda would become a gateway for Quatar investments and that the other countries in the region stand to benefit from the work between Uganda and Quatar.
The members of the Chamber pledged to organize a visit to Uganda.