Mr Ian Harrison, the Regional Director, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) gave an insight on how UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) can provide international trade advice and practical support for people to grow their business in Uganda. He said that Uganda is important for UK and the bilateral trade activity is now UK£200 Million per annum which needs to be increased. He emphasised on the opportunities in extractive industries, agriculture, infrustracture and education. He disclosed that they have more than one thousand companies interested to do business in Uganda and among those who travelled with him, he mentioned Clifton packaging PLC.
He said that Uganda has a few factors that appeal to UK; fully liberalised economy, all sectors liberalised for investment, 100% foreign ownership permitted, member of COMESA, a strong national resource base (rainfall, good favorable climate, unexploited mineral deposits), tourism opportunity, oil and gas, trainable labour, a committed government to the private sector and security of investment. He further said that all these factors are indication that there is growing and sustainable opportunities in Uganda for UK companies to be competetive. He pointed out a few challenges including poor transport infruststructure to get goods around, cost of energy, product couterfeiting and lack of direct freight from the UK.
Finally, he said that UKTI offers services to UK companies to do business in Uganda including marketing and localization, working with agents and distributors, product launches, seminars, marketing, securing meetings with high government officials, expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in the British Embassy in Kampala. They provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive. They also offer professional, authoritative and personalised assistance to help companies in Uganda locate and expand in the UK. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) staff provide expert international trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas and it is important that Ugandans in the UK take advantage of it, as UKTI has a country resource centre who can help people access marketing intelligence. Also companies can participate in UKTI trade missions.