Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Sam Kutesa has said that the private sector is the key driver for sustained economic growth which Uganda continues to promote in both domestic and foreign direct investment for increased productivity, job creation and improvement of livelihoods of the people. Hon Kutesa made these remarks during the Uganda-Iran Economic forum which took place at the Katonga Hall, Conference Centre in Kampala this morning.
The economic forum comprises of Business Delegations from both Government and the Private Sector of Uganda and Iran. The Ugandan Delegation is led by Hon. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda and the Iranian Delegation is led by Hon Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran.
Hon Kutesa welcomed Iran’s enhanced private sector investments. “Iranian companies and individuals should take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in Uganda, especially in agriculture and agro-processing, oil and gas, minerals, ICT, human resource development, energy, Tourism, and infrastructure development”, he said. He hailed the Economic Forum as a strong first step that he hoped would yield tangible benefits and help attain the objectives set out in the MoUs signed under the Uganda-Iran Cooperation framework over the years.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Iran, Dr Zarif said “Iran means business”. He introduced his delegation as including representatives of every sector of business in Iran at their highest level. He said that his delegation included several investment companies in the areas of high-tech agricultural production including nano-fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, bio-tech and manufacturing has accompanied him to Uganda. He was pleased that both Chambers of Commerce had made every effort to bring their members to the forum.
In a bi-lateral meeting between the two foreign Ministers held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Zarif emphasized that science-based Iranian companies are prepared not only to export their products to Uganda but also to transfer the technologies for use in Uganda and the EAC, which, he acknowledged, had a combined population of over 170 Million.
Hon Kutesa informed him that the same regions were also working on a Tripartite EAC-COMESA-SADC Free Trade Area which comprises of 26 countries with a total of 600 million people and combined GDP of nearly 1 trillion US Dollars giving Iranian foreign Direct Investments access to a big regional market with Uganda at its center.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs like many other Foreign Ministries around the world has repositioned itself to fit in the global economic arena where business and government collaboration are substantial. In Financial year 2016/17, a program for strengthening commercial, economic and cultural diplomacy was rolled out among Uganda’s Missions abroad with the intention of supporting national capacities that would facilitate increased exports, inward FDIs, increase tourist arrivals, while enhancing innovative appropriate technological transfers.
Dr. Zarif accompanied by 7 of Iran’s top businessmen are scheduled to meet president Yoweri Museveni on the afternoon of October 25th 2017 and the two will president over the opening of phase one of the Iran-Uganda Clinic in Naguru.