The time is now
When assessing the potential of Africa, Barrack Obama used his familiar mantra of ‘Yes, you can!’ to insist that the people of our vastly diverse continent have the power to create something special. No one is going to turn this resourceful continent into another world but ourselves.
There is always a time for everything, and the time is now for us Ugandans in the Diaspora to come together as nationalist Ugandans. We should embrace our diversity of culture, endowment of natural resources and utilise the good investment environment enjoyed by foreign investors. We need to stand out among Diasporans and make an impact on our personal growth by exploiting potential opportunities at our disposal even in our chosen adopted land, the UK.
We need to start evaluating the purpose of our journey to this foreign land, and see that we not only support our families back home, but also contribute to the growth of Uganda’s economy by investing in sustainable ventures.
Many of you were expressing concern that the forthcoming Convention in August could be used as a government tool to garner its influence to the Diasporans. I want to reassure all of you that we shall not in any way compromise the ethos, objectives and mission of the Convention in favour of political influence. So much so, that this event has been funded mainly by myself, as well as through the support of corporate sponsorship. However, we need to work closely with various government institutions if we want our problems and suggestions to be adopted.
Uganda is still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world but light can be seen at the end of the tunnel, with our endowment of natural resources like oil, the production of which is starting soon. We also have the influx of foreign and regional investors. The time is now right for us to go back home and explore the vast opportunities available.
The GDP of the following sectors in Uganda is estimated at 29.4% in agriculture, 22.1% in industry and 48.5% in services. It is worth noting that the service sector is growing at an astronomical rate. Ugandans in the Diaspora have acquired a variety of skills that can now be converted into sound business ventures. Uganda Investment Authority has provided us with a database of more than 250 business ideas for you to analyse and to help you find the right niche.
We need to start being vigilant and work as conduits for our Ugandan products in order to help out in increasing the Ugandan export base. At the same time, the government needs to invest more in value addition factories, as this is the only way to have access to the Western market without being ripped off.
The youth is another element that we want to address. Whilst we are busy looking for the green pastures in the West, very little time is reserved for our young generation. This has led some of them down the wrong path and sadly, some end up in prison or otherwise not to mention the recent riots. It is the duty of all of us Ugandans to instil Ugandan values into our youth and show them the right way forward.
I would like to thank everyone that supported us and our sponsors for adding an immeasurable value to the success of this first ever UK- Ugandan Convention.
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