The Daily Monitor reported that President Museveni told a group of African-American investors who had visited Uganda last month that investing in Uganda is certain to be successful and profitable. He described the country’s investment climate as “excellent.”
The team of 16 US investors are associates of Senegalese-American celebrity and entrepreneur Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, who met with the President in early May.
President Museveni told the investors that Uganda has a skilled and affordable labour force, vast markets from the East African region, Africa, and the American market via the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Uganda is suitable for investment because of a legal framework that allows selected countries to export to the United States tariff- and quota-free.
Museveni and his administration are working to lower the cost of power and transportation to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Mr Museveni, flanked by First Lady Janet, urged potential investors to take a keen interest in Africa, which he described as their “motherland,” to invest their resources on the continent and develop Africa’s unused potential.
“You need to study Africa, your homeland closely and understand the cause of [its] under-development. Africa is the origin of man, pioneers of civilization, a host of traditional religions and has more natural resources than any other continent in the world, but is the most underdeveloped of all continents,” he said.
The Daily Monitor also writes that President told his guests that Africa’s underdevelopment could assign fault to various factors, including foreign intervention through slave trade and colonialism.
Ms Janet thanked their visitors for believing in Africa and Uganda and deciding to venture and invest in the continent despite widespread negative publicity.
She stated that for 400 years, the African continent endured slavery and that the time had come for it to be free, develop, and prosper.
The African-American investors expressed an interest in investing in real estate, education, health, music and recreation, banking, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality.
Foreign Investment in Real Estate
With the exception of land, foreigners have the right to own property, establish businesses, and make investments. The laws of Uganda don’t allow foreign investors to buy land outright.
This means foreign investors may own property, such as an immovable structure like a building, but they cannot own the land that it sits on. Land ownership rights are granted solely to citizens.
However, foreign investors can still attain land under the leasehold tenure system, and lease land for up to 99 years from citizens or from the Government, with the opportunity for renewal. Further, long-term leases can be used as collateral to obtain commercial loans.
Alternatively, foreign investors to create Ugandan-based firms to purchase and own land.
Granting foreigners the right to establish Ugandan businesses and make investments creates employment opportunities, ensures they are paying local taxes and contributing to the Ugandan economy.
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