Uganda Set For an Investment Boom

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After more than two decades of civil and near economic collapse, Uganda is finally rising from the doldrums with impressive development strides.

Since 1986, when Yoweri Museveni’s rag tag band of guerillas stormed Kampala and toppled a military junta, the country has meticulously been following a concrete rehabilitation and economic development programme. The National Resistance Movement has instilled financial discipline, rehabilitated the economy and turned Uganda into a regional haven for foreign investment.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Progress report named Uganda as the 13th fastest growing economy in the world. It had maintained a steady growth rate of eight per cent a year.

Ten years ago, Uganda’s inflation rate had risen to an alarming 240 per cent. By 1990, austerity measures spearheaded by the IMF pushed it down to an average 100 per cent. Between 1990 and 1993, it fluctuated between 60 and 20 per cent a year. However, between January 1994 and December 1995, inflation was tamed at 10 per cent annually. By 1988/89, interest rates for commercial loans had reached 50 per cent. But as the economy systematically recovered, interest rates fell to 25 per cent and finally 10 per cent by the end of last year.

These key financial improvements have stimulated the growth of the private sector.

The Uganda Investment Authority, which is wooing and supervising private investment, says that since its inception in July 1991, it has licensed 1,729 projects with a corresponding proposed investment of $ 2.568 billion. This investment is expected to create more than 107,515 jobs. The authority projects that between 35 and 45 per cent of the proposed investment will be achieved by the end of this year.

The manufacturing sector tops the others accounting for 32 per cent followed by agriculture with 19 per cent and construction with 13 per cent. The other sectors have less than 10 per cent. Insurance takes up nine per cent, while tourism and transport/communications account for eight per cent each.

Allen Mutono
reporting for Safarimate
from Kampala, Uganda

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