The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda, Lord Popat of Harrow, was in Uganda this week promoting the UK’s honest and reliable trade and investment opportunities that deliver value for money to ensure ALL Ugandans benefit.
Lord Popat was appointed UK Trade Envoy to Uganda in 2016. He has visited Uganda a number of times in this role, most recently in November 2021. As a successful businessperson, he brings this experience along with his love for Uganda, the country of his birth.
One of the key priorities of this visit was a meeting with H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. This meeting focused on several investments which require swift action now. Government of Uganda approval to progress these critical investments should move Uganda’s potential into real growth and opportunity. We also discussed the Africa Free Trade Agreement. It is estimated the agreement will be able to lift an additional 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035 and increase exports by 8%, and the UK was delighted to announce that the UK Government has committed £35m to support negotiations and implementation.
A direct flight route between the UK and Uganda will be vital to increasing trade between the UK and Uganda. The route will bring greater tourism opportunities and will greatly extend the opportunities for getting Uganda’s fresh produce onto UK supermarket shelves. Lord Popat is passionate about getting this Uganda Airlines route off the ground, and he met with the Minister of Works and Transport to discuss progress and offer UK support.
There are a number of investment opportunities in Uganda that the UK is keen to explore, most notably in the sectors of infrastructure, Minerals, and energy. Lord Popat met with stakeholders including Hon. Francis Mwebesa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives; Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Mr Robert Mukiza, DG Uganda Investment Authoritity; and Dr Diana Atwine, PS Ministry of Health, to explore these opportunities further.
It is an exciting development that British Investment International (formerly CDC group) has invested $50m in Equity Bank to support their Recovery and Resilience Plan sets their ambition to transform the lives of 100 million people in Africa by 2025. Lord Popat met with Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi to discuss this investment and what it could mean for Uganda.
Lord Popat’s business background meant he felt particularly at home meeting with a range of both Ugandan and British business and discussing the further growth of UK trade and investment. They discussed how the private sector can work alongside the UK government to bring mutual prosperity to both the UK and Uganda. Greater private and public sector collaboration is in the interests of all parties, with all Ugandans standing to benefit from creating jobs, breeding innovation, and transferring technology.
Trade Envoy Lord Popat said:
“I recognise the immense potential of Uganda, but now is the time to turn that potential into tangible commercial outcomes. The aim of my visit this week is to turn opportunities into deals, but I need the support of the Government of Uganda, business, and most importantly, the people of Uganda if we are to strengthen trade relations to grow our mutual prosperity”
H.E. Kate Airey OBE, British High Commissioner to Uganda added:
“We pride ourselves on being a responsible investor in Uganda. The UK does not believe in short term gain, instead we want to ensure that any investment made in Uganda will have long term sustainable outcomes that will deliver for generations to come. The UK is partnering with Uganda using our unique prosperity offer to support Uganda to catalyse economic growth and boost UK and Uganda’s mutual prosperity.”