In the next 30 years, Africa will have one of the strongest human resource bases in the world. It now stands at the population of 1.34bn and will be at 2.5bn by 2050. Currently, Africa imports goods worth $547bn and yet it is endowed with; gold, diamond, copper, coffee, tea and raw materials needed to provide all these products that it imports. For Africa to get out of current poverty levels, industrialization is the path way. Value addition is a given quality for the development of Africa, not aid. It is normally wrong for Africa to continue exporting raw materials yet importing products that are made out of these raw materials.
Some countries on the African continent have woken up to add value to the raw materials they are endowed with and Uganda is providing a good example. Uganda developed on industrialization policy in 2020 which provides away other strategies for value addition in the following areas
1. Agro-Based Industrialization 2. Knowledge Based Industrialization. 3. Export Oriented Industrialization 4. Import Replacement Industrialization 5. Resource Based Industrialization 6. Market Orient Industrialization
Uganda currently has a population of 41.5m and is projected to grow to 86.5m by 2050. It currently imports goods worth $7bn and most of these goods would be produced here, if we added value to raw materials.
In terms of Agro-industrialisation. Uganda produces ; coffee, 360,000 tons, bananas 9.7m tons, cassava 2m tons, milk 2.8bn litres and cereals 5m tons.
Uganda is also endowed with massive mineral resources, oil and gas , 1.4bn barrels, 21.6 m tones of lime stone, 1.31m of gold with pure gold content of up to 320,158 tons valued at $12.8tn, iron ore 318m tons and phosphates 230m tons.
Uganda has maintained a stable micro economic stability with raw inflation at an average rate of 5% for the last two decades. It is considered the most political stable and having maintained peace, stability and security for 35 years and helping neighbors like South Sudan, Somalia DRC, etc to stabilize.
Uganda industry value addition as a percentage of GDP increased from 9.6% in 1986 to 27.1% in 2021, which provides room for more industries to set up. We have put in place favorable investment policy to grow this industrial sector.
Uganda is modeling the Chinese industrial policy in the following ways;
We have opened up the economy and now are considered the most open country in the region for foreign direct investment. New companies investing in Uganda are given 10 years exemption on income derived by investor in industrial park. We have adopted a policy of developing industrial parks to support investors. These parks are in two categories;
The first category is industrial parks developed by government. According to our plan Uganda will develop 22 full serviced industrial parks in the next five years starting with five this year. The main purpose of this strategy is to support investors with places where they can establish their factories without many problems. These parks will be developed with roads, water, internet, electricity that will be given to investors at 5 cents USD per kilowatt.
The second categories are industrial parks developed by private sector, e.g. Tian Tang Group that has partnered with government to build Mbale Industrial Park. Tian Tang Group has set up a modern industrial park that has attracted investors who are now producing products. We have been importing for example, mattresses, flat irons, electrical bulbs to mention but a few.
This private park has provided jobs to young people and women and provided them with skills required in the park. Because of Tian Tang Group as a successful example now other private parks are starting to mushroom.
Government of Uganda will continue to model the Chinese policy of industrialization by inviting foreign direct investors to take advantage of immense opportunities for industrialization these opportunities are mainly in the following areas,
1. Agro industrialization 2. Import replacement 3. Mineral based industrialization 4. Export oriented industrialization.
The above opportunities are supported by the huge markets negotiated by Uganda namely; African Continental Free Trade Area, Europeans markets, East African countries, African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), preferential markets of China, Japan, etc.
On this journey of industrialization, China remains a reliable partner. It has supported Uganda to put up the required infrastructure like; Karuma dam, substations, airport and roads. These infrastructures are key in creating a conducive environment to grow our industrial base.
Uganda invites all Chinese investors to come and take advantage of immerse opportunities in our country and participate in the industrialization of Uganda and provide a good example that will light the whole of Africa.