Bidding Farewell to New Delhi
Concluding her assignment by a follow-up visit to the States of Telangana and Tamil Nadu in south-eastern India, Ambassador Grace Akello has signed a number of Letters of Intent with prospective investors. This region had in September 2021 hosted a Ugandan Road Show in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, in which Ugandan cabinet ministers had made presentations on the target growth sectors of agriculture and agriculture-led industrialisation, tourism, mining and IT. The Mission responded to several invitations for follow-up meetings with Indian firms which were keen to explore Ugandan opportunities highlighted by the different sector ministers and leaders of government agencies and departments during the Road Show.
In Telangana the Mission delegation interacted with a number of business firms including infrastructure, real estate, health and firms interested in the entire value chain of all agricultural sub-sectors; as well as mining. An interesting variation to these firms was AIC RAISE, a-not-for-profit firm. This enterprise and business skills development body features Startup Incubation Centres focusing on United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. AIC RAISE has already shown keen interest in collaborating with Uganda in the areas of entrepreneurship, start-ups including incubating, supporting and promoting enterprises as they grow and expand. Madan Senthil, the visionary but soft-spoken founder of this firm, has visited Uganda on several occasions with a view to setting up a similar Centre in the country. The Mission pledged to resuscitate AIC RAISE interest and activities in Uganda; a job to be followed up by the Secretary to Economic/Commercial Diplomacy, Ms Sophie Birungi, who accompanied Amb Akello throughout the visit.
Similar commitments to provide support and guidance to prospective investors was made to the business community of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The Minister of State for Education in Tamil Nadu warmly welcomed the prospects of his State collaboration with Uganda basic education agents. He extended an invitation to a basic education delegation of teachers, curriculum and syllabus makers as well as other education functionaries to pay a two-to-three-week bench-marking visit in order to appreciate the Tamil Nadu approach and targets for basic education.
Prospective investments from the State of Tamil Nadu include such specialist health investments as ophthalmology and nephrology centres of excellence. Of interest to Tamil Nadu too are investment opportunities in agriculture, mining and tourism. While these long-term plans were brought out during these engagements, medical tourism from Uganda to India has one more super specialty hospital featuring the latest high-tech in all fields in medicine to which Ugandan patients seeking such medical attention are warmly welcome. Located deep in the heartland of Tamil Nadu historical sites by Vellore city, Naruvi Hospital boasts of the latest features of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic facilities with radiology services and state of the art laboratory. Naruvi Hospital management is keen to establish collaboration with Ugandan teaching hospitals. While interest was expressed on investment opportunities in Ugandan agricultural sector, including agri-business and agro-processing, the processing of Ugandan types of millet as a super food featured as a strategic area of investment given the global trend towards organic and traditional food crops.
A business delegation is currently being put together by the Hon Consul Chennai and Dr Abdul Ghani, the Green Man of India, Sreenivasan and Lakshmi Narayan who were instrumental in mobilising the business community for the tour in Telangana and Tamil Nadu.