President of the Republic of Uganda, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has met a group of investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi.
The President arrived in the Middle Eastern country yesterday at the invitation of his UAE counterpart and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for a working visit.
While meeting a delegation of investors led by H.E. Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, the Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, President Museveni implored them to interest themselves in the area of local production of pharmaceutical products in Uganda.
“We have important things here in Uganda that we are not using. For example, we produce a lot of sugar but only use it for tea to drink, we also have a lot of starch from cassava and maize, these products have not been fully utilised yet they can be used for pharmaceutical purposes,” President Museveni said.
He added: “Many of these tablets are not all medicine, part of the tablet is just a carrier to take the medicine into your stomach, to make the tablet, you need a special starch known as pharmaceutical-grade starch which we can make from maize or cassava.”
The President therefore appealed to the investors to locally partner with the Ugandan government in reducing the immense amount of starch from the various crops by putting it into good use of producing pharmaceutical drugs.
He further expounded that refining raw sugar into pharmaceutical-grade sugar is a huge potential area for investors to explore in Uganda explaining that the country is enriched with a lot of sugar which could be used for different types of syrups.
“We have a lot of sugar here in Uganda which could be used for pharmaceutical purposes. Usually, a lot of syrups for children contain sugar to make it sweet for them, I think this is something we can also do here locally by taking advantage of what we have,” he noted.
President Museveni also mentioned that Uganda is blessed with a variety of minerals, thus encouraging the investors to consider the country’s lucrative industrial venture, saying that the government is ready to work with them.
“There is iron ore for steel, phosphate for fertilisers, we have copper for electric military industries, gold, and lithium for electric batteries. We are already making electric cars so we need those batteries and many others. You are therefore welcome to tap into these areas locally,” the President said.
“The big ones here though are iron ore and phosphates; iron ore is like 800 million tons, while the confirmed phosphates are 230 million tons. So the only thing we are struggling with now is for us to be able to link the industry and the minerals.”
H.E Abdulkarim thanked the President for informing him about the different potential areas for investment and economic cooperation between the two countries, saying that they are ready to work together for a better future.
“We are talking about manufacturing cars here, and so when it comes to batteries, we believe that it will be the next big potential market area, so why not consider Uganda?” Abdulkarim said.
Speaking to another group of investors led by Mr. Saifee Rupawala, the Chief Executive Officer of Lulu Group International, the President hailed the investors for exporting Ugandan products on a global market.
“Thank you for reaching the bigger markets of the world with our good natural products, I will make sure you get the ten acres of land that you need for the construction of the food processing and logistics center,” he promised the group.
Mr. Rupawala informed President Museveni that the company requires a piece of land near the airport for easy transportation of fresh fruits and foods from within Uganda to other countries for sale.
“We have been exporting a lot of different kinds of food products from Uganda to other countries, however, the only problem that we have now is having your space which can enable us in professional packaging of the products to attract the bigger market,” he said.
The group CEO added: “Uganda is blessed with natural foods and fruits that are of high quality and they do not have any chemicals. Your Excellency, we are therefore proud to export these products and promote them even further.”
President Museveni also met other investors including; Dr. Abdulmonem Almarzooqi, the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Elite Agro, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, and the Managing Director and Group CEO Abu Dhabi National Oil Company ( ADNOC), Brig. (Rtd) Saeed Saleem Khalfan Al Marri, the Group Chairman of SSK Technologies International and Prince Chaher Al Taki, the CEO and Managing Director of Rowad International Commercial LLC ( RCC).
The delegates, together with the President, discussed investment opportunities and possible areas of economic cooperation between Uganda and the UAE.
President Museveni welcomed the investors to Uganda and assured them of a ready market for their goods and services with a conducive business atmosphere.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Attorney General, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, H.E. Zaake W. Kibedi, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the United Arab Emirates and the Director General of External Security Organization (ESO) Ambassador Joseph Ocwet.