KAMPALA: Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said his country is safe and ready for business and major investments.
Speaking at the inaugural Uganda-Somalia Investment and Business Summit in Kampala on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, President Mohamud said he welcomes Ugandan investors in his country, praising the Kampala government for helping to improve security there.
“I want to reiterate the great respect that the Somali people and government have for you, President Kaguta Museveni, and your country for championing our security and development. We are truly grateful,” he said.
“Somalia is now open for business and investment and willing to increase our volume of bilateral trade between our two countries and identify opportunities for investment trade and tourism for both our countries and people,” he added.
The Somali leader expressed confidence that the Somalia-Uganda Investment and Business Summit will contribute to the acceleration of intra-regional trade and investment between the two countries and further opportunities to grow.
“Africa is blessed with wealth and has a large economy; however, because of fragmented markets, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers, our intra-regional and intra-continental trade is below 20% compared to about 60% in Asia,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming Ugandan business people willing to invest in many of our competitive industries, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, service sector, and more,” he said.
Uganda has hundreds of troops deployed in Somalia under Amisom to promote security.
“Uganda was the first country to respond to Somalia’s call for the deployment of peacekeeping troupes, and the UPDF, till today, continues to support us and our fight against terrorism and keeping the peace in Somalia,” President Mohamud said.
In his remarks at the forum, President Museveni promised to support Somalia in joining the EAC “because it has all qualifications which include; having a border with one of the EAC countries, having a private sector-led economy and being a democratic country.”
“When we went to Mogadishu in Somalia, those people said, “You ‘Kafiri,’ you go back.” We said that we shall show you that ‘Kafiris’ are the ones that own Africa. You are the ones who will go away because this is our land, and here we respect everybody,” he said.
“I am glad that the people of Somalia have stood against the terrorists, and we shall support them as much as we can. As far as we can, we shall continue to support the Somalia government in their struggle against shallow-minded terrorists,” Museveni added.
The Uganda-Somalia investment and Business summit aims to provide a platform for Private Sector/Business Community together with other relevant stakeholders to freely exchange views and ideas on how to ease the cost-of-doing business.
Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia Prof Sam Tulya-Muhika said that since Uganda has invested heavily in stabilizing and pacifying Somalia, its important to engage in commercial and economic diplomacy to reap trade and investment opportunities.
Prof Tulya-Muhika also added that the Primary objective of the Business Summit is to provide a platform for Business Community together with other relevant stakeholders like Government MDAs, to freely exchange views and ideas on how to ease the cost of doing business.
The chairperson of Uganda Investment Authority, Morrison Rwakakamba and his Somalia counterpart Abdirashid Xaaji signed Memorandum of Understanding to promote investment in agriculture, pathogenic industry, ICT, manufacturing and services.
In 2020, Uganda exported $ 676,000 to Somalia. The main products that Uganda exported to Somalia were aircraft parts ($544,000), rolled tobacco ($ 102,000), and beer ($ 16,000).