Uganda is keen on cashing in on the trade relations between the United Kingdom and Africa.
The UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy for Uganda and Rwanda, Lord Dolar Popat visited Uganda recently with oil investors from the UK aspiring to explore investment opportunities in the energy sector.
The UK companies are aware of the prospects in the oil and gas industry, with the latest development of Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline, also known as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline which is crucial for the economy of President Museveni’s Uganda. The 1,444km infrastructure will not only boost the economic development of both countries but open new avenues for businesses.
During his visit, Lord Popat said he had proposed to Prime Minister Theresa May to double the $780 million kitty to finance UK businesses to invest or export to Uganda. In addition to this, he said their presence in the economy of Uganda would facilitate the broader trade relations with Africa, which will fill the gap after the “British exit from the European Union” (Brexit) in March next year.
He stated that trade relations between Africa and UK had significantly reduced by a 22 per cent margin. UK firms have invested in the African market but face stiff competition from other foreign investors most notably Chinese, Japanese and French as well as Germans who are paving their way through the potential of the African market.
Uganda oil minister Irene Muloni said the country’s oil production would delay by a year and officially commence operations in 2021. French oil major Total is at the forefront of the oil production project, having established its brand in the country for a long time now.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Britain’s Tullow Oil are also main stakeholders and foreign investors in the energy sector. Their operations have created employment opportunities for many Ugandans, steering the economic development of the nation and boosting economic cooperation.
Despite Uganda falling five places behind its previous spot in the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business, foreign investors are keen to establish and expand their footprint in Uganda and the rest of East Africa. The region remains an attractive hub for investments and firms are stopping at nothing to have a piece the pie. Latest reports on FDI show East Africa attracted most foreign investment inflows in the entire continent.
The oil and gas sector in Uganda is pivotal for socio-economic progress. The energy sector is the next exciting industry most businesses are looking to invest in with a potential of high returns on investments.