BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE: Overcoming challenges for diaspora Ugandans trying to invest back home

These policies have had some success, with diaspora investments in the country increasing in recent years.

However, there are still significant obstacles to investment, including a lack of information about investment opportunities and the challenges of doing business in the country.

Judith Nahurira is one Ugandan who has experienced these obstacles to investment.

Judith is a Ugandan citizen who has lived in the United Kingdom for the past 20 years.

She had always wanted to invest in her home country, but she found it challenging to navigate the investment landscape. She has struggled to find reliable information about investment opportunities and has found the process of setting up a business in Uganda to be time-consuming and confusing.

She cites one example where it took her almost a month to get a licence from a government institution because the public servant was not in the office.

Despite these challenges, Judith remains committed to investing in Uganda.

She has invested in different sectors such as real estate and transport.

She believes that diaspora investments have the potential to transform the country’s economy and create opportunities for future generations.

She is currently working with Ugandans in diaspora to identify potential investment opportunities and is exploring the possibility of setting up more businesses in the country.

Judith’s experience highlights the challenges facing many Ugandans living abroad who want to invest in their home country.

According to the Subhash Thakrar – former Vice President, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Uganda has a number of opportunities that the Diaspora community can invest in, including the manufacturing sector.

He says the return on investment when investing in industries is huge for the economy, from job creation to eradicating poverty.

To achieve this, he says Uganda must provide investment incentives and reduce the initial capital required to qualify for land in different industrial parks.

In Uganda’s Investment Act, an investor investing 10 million dollars is guaranteed on numerous investments. To Judith, this is quite high for so many people in the diaspora.

Samuel Kitone Araali – Entrepreneur & Philanthropist based in the United Kingdom, says with the right policies and support in place, diaspora investments have the potential to drive economic growth and create opportunities for all Ugandans.

Of late, the Uganda Investment Authority, along with other agencies, has been coordinating people in the diaspora to come back and settle in the country.

According to Robert Mukiza, the Director General of the Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda has a target for the Ugandans in Diaspora to contribute 10 percent of the country’s GDP.

He adds that with different engagements and the right polices this will be achieved. By investing in sectors such as industry, among others, he hopes to change Uganda’s economy through the people in diaspora.

Currently, it is estimated that 2.2% of Uganda’s population, or approximately 660, 000 Ugandan nationals live in diaspora such UAE, USA, UK among others.

According to the Bank of Uganda, remittance flows to Uganda declined by 26 percent, from US$1.4 billion in 2019 to US$1.1 billion in 2020.

Diaspora investments have the potential to transform the Ugandan economy, but significant obstacles remain.

The government must continue to implement policies to encourage investment, and investment advisors and other organisations must provide more information and support for those looking to invest in the country.

With the right policies and support in place, diaspora investments can play a significant role in creating a more prosperous future for Uganda.

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