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Uganda-India: friends and business partners

Wednesday, 4th April 2018
Uganda enjoys a special relationship with India and this will continue to be nurtured by both countries, as reiterated by the two Vice Presidents of Uganda and India during their recent meeting in New Delhi. The Vice President of India, HE Mr Venkaiah Naidu, accorded HE Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, a one-hour meeting soon after the latter got off his plane on the morning of 24th March. Ssekandi had been invited to the country by the Chamber of Indian Industry and EXIM Bank of India; where he was one of three African Vice Presidents given Guest of Honour status at their 13th Africa-India Project Partnership Conclave.

Welcoming his guest to India, Naidu referred to the strong joint cooperation in defence matters; indicating that this cooperation could be further enhanced and expanded. He also referred to the long established business relations between the two countries, citing in particular strong trade relations between them. He indicated that India was open to exploring other areas of collaboration with Uganda including the development of her infrastructure as well as her oil and gas. The Vice President of India welcomed a request from the Head of Uganda's Public Service Commission, to assist in resolving the Commission's construction, equipping and tooling challenges.

Ssekandi welcomed the idea of cooperation in emerging sectors adding that Uganda was looking for value addition investment ventures in the areas of mineral beneficiation, agro-processing, human resource development and tourism. With regard to the latter, the Vice President invited his counterpart for a visit to the equator in Uganda, where he would enjoy the adventure of being at the Centre of the world without having to bear its attendant high temperatures. Rather than the high temperatures, and their attendant discomfort which are associated with the Equator, Uganda on the highly elevated African plateau offered all year round comfort worth sampling.

Apart from fulfilling his role as one of the Guests of Honour at the 13th CII-EXIM Bank India-Africa Project Partnership Conclave, the Vice President came with eight Government of Uganda approved projects namely:  (i) the construction of electricity lines and substations (grid reinforcement project), US$141 million; (ii) the supply and installation of solar powered water pumping systems for providing clean and safe water to rural areas US$25.5Million; (iii)   the supply and installation of solar powered water pumping systems for providing clean and safe water to rural areas US$25.5million;  (iv)  the development of Kampala Industrial and Business Park US$100 million;  (v)  Police modernisation project, US$40m;  (vi)  the development of agriculture and dairy production US$ 64 million;  (vii)  the design and construction of Shuuku-Masyoro Phase 2  (Sheema), Bukedea Phase 2 (Bukedea, Bulambuli, Sironko), Bwera GFS Water Scheme and Ogili (Agago) Large Rural Piped Flow Scheme US$ 87.625M; and  (viii) Uhuru Hydro Power Project. These were submitted to the Conclave in fulfillment of the spirit of its 13th meeting, which stressed submission of concrete projects for implementation. In addition a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Uganda Development Corporation and Pearl Health Sciences Ltd, an Indian company set to manufacture generic drugs in Uganda.

To support the Vice President in his commercial diplomacy tour of India was a high-powered delegation of five ministers: Trade and Industry; Investment; of Housing and Urban Development; of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; and for Kampala Capital City Authority. High-level officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance, from Uganda Development Corporation and Uganda Development Bank as well as key members in Uganda's up-coming private sector, including the Managing Director of Barclays Bank, formed the Vice-President's delegation. At hand were members of the Uganda-Indian Business Association, who were witnesses to Uganda's lucrative business opportunities and friendly ambiance.