The recently-concluded Science and Innovation Week attracted early-stage investors with more than $5 billion (Shs 18.7tn) worth of investment in Uganda, prime minister Robinah Nabbanja has revealed.
The week-long event was held at Kololo ceremonial grounds between November 6 and November 12 under the theme: ‘Uganda Tusimbudde.’
“Many of them have already committed to investing this money in our country. Those who are sitting around are also making some commitments. I am eagerly waiting for the white paper that will come out of this discussion with these investors,” she said at the closure of the science week.
She noted that the government will do everything possible to create a more permissive environment for these investors to invest in the country and pledged her support to the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to realize its mandate.
She applauded all innovators who have taken part in this year’s exhibitions, demonstrating where the country has reached in science, technology and innovation.
Nabbanja pledged to work with various ministries, such as the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, and all other stakeholders to ensure that the president’s pledge of Shs 500 billion is provided in the coming financial year.
Dr Monica Musenero, the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that 74 venture capital firms from all over the world participated in this year’s exhibition. They have an estimate between $5bn and $10 billion looking for areas where they can invest.
“We know that Uganda is the best investment destination given that it has a favorable business environment and the market for finished products. It is at the heart of East Africa, which runs from one coast to the other. It is really a champion. We are in good relationships with our neighbors, we have supported them. They benefit from us, we benefit from them,” she said.
She decried corporate companies that have declined to invest in science and technology to help small innovators build and provide job opportunities and grow the country’s economy. According to Dr Musenero, government signed investment deals with various local innovators worth $1.6m (Shs 6 billion).
“We have worked with Uganda Development Bank, to act as a fund manager for the $1.6 million for investing in seven companies. We are going to use this as our learning. We hope we can build that fund up to at least Shs 500 million fund for innovators,” she said.
Some of the local investors include Afrosilk Co (Silkworm egg production), Herbs For You SMC (Pombe Guard hangover reliver), Skipack (U) Ltd (Biodegradable hair from banana fiber), Fondry Network for Accelerated Human Capital Development, Gulu University (cassava value addition), Deploy Resource Africa (U) Ltd (Biodegradable brushes from cow tail hair) and others.