Brand Uganda is a project by the UGANDA EKKULA INITIATIVE with the aim of making an outstanding impact to help build the reputation and success of Uganda in the global market. We are committed to bringing new thinking and fresh insight to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing our country. Our focus is on innovation in emerging markets, feature some of the most prominent thought-leaders both locally and internationally and provide a platform to connect through tailored insight that will help accelerate growth agendas and challenge their thinking. Every innovation starts with a big idea, but it’s how you tell its story that makes an impact. That’s where we come in.
The world’s biggest and best brands, like Apple, McDonald’s and Nike, did not just create out-standing products and assume the world would beat a path to their door. They understood the critical need to market their products in an effective way that created consumer demand. And even with popular products that are now household names around the world, they continue to spend enormous sums on marketing and promotion to ensure lasting consumer demand.
Somehow what is obviously valuable for the world’s best brands is not so obvious to policy-makers in many developing countries, who are reducing national and local tourism marketing programs in the name of saving taxpayer dollars. “If we do it right, the ideal brand will transcend the visitor market and support all economic development.” Hank Marshall Economic Development Executive Officer, City of Phoenix An effort to “brand” Uganda does not mean glossing over the troubling issues to promote only the good, but striking a balance with respect to the perceptions that are created around the brand.
In the era of globalization, countries compete with each other for attention, respect and trust of potential consumers, investors, tourists, media and governments of other nations. A positive and strong nation brand will provide a crucial competitive advantage in this international arena.
WHO WE ARE
A good brand will surely project Uganda’s strengths while recognising its weaknesses. We strongly feel that re-branding to our original slogan “The Pearl of Africa” will enable us re-position ourselves well on the international market.
There are many benefits to having a consolidated brand image, with the most important being that a consistent Brand Uganda message creates strategic advantages in terms of trade and tourism for the country in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
The primary objective of Brand Uganda is to develop and implement a pro-active marketing and communication strategy for Uganda, and to promote Uganda.
Our role is to create a positive, unified image of Uganda; one that builds pride, promotes investment and tourism, and helps new enterprises and job creation.
We operate on four platforms:
raising awareness internationally of all that Uganda has to offer investors;
operating missions abroad promoting investment and export industries;
mobilising influential Ugandans as well as members of the media abroad; and
boosting local pride and patriotism through various campaigns.
WHAT WE DO
Our purpose is to create a positive and compelling brand image for Uganda, both domestically and internationally and in so doing, drive strategic opportunities for trade and tourism.
Brand Uganda represents both the identity and characteristics of Uganda as a tourism and investment destination, as well as the activities and messaging undertaken to communicate and reinforce that brand. Brand Uganda is building the brand for Uganda by defining and communicating its uniqueness and attractiveness to potential visitors and investors.
Brand Uganda works closely with a number of partners in building a positive, unified image of Uganda; one that builds pride, promotes investment and tourism, and helps new enterprises and job creation.
Develop a coherent framework for designing successful destination brand strategies, supporting powerful nation branding initiatives.
PROJECTS AND EVENTS
International marketing and mobilization
Brand Uganda’s international campaigns focus on the needs of tourists and investors in Uganda, exporters, and global Ugandans.
For investors, Brand Uganda aims to increase familiarity and knowledge of Uganda as a viable, world class and profitable business destination in targeted international trade, investment and tourism markets. We match the strategies of UIA, MOFA, MOTH, and Ugandan Tourism. Targeted countries include China, India, the US, the UK and European Union, UAE, South Africa and Russia. Targeted advertising campaigns, through broadcast, print and online media, and other traditional marketing techniques are used to raise awareness of all that Uganda offers the international investor.
Global Ugandans are influential, well-placed Ugandans abroad. Brand Uganda aims to mobilize the Global Ugandan network behind a programme of investment recruitment, skills identification, mentoring, skills transfer, study exchange and work experience initiatives. This is seen as an extension of the marketing initiatives in the host countries.
Influence transnational communities maintaining connections with their countries of origin. Remittances from migrants and their descendants as a source of financial inflows to Uganda. Diaspora investors contribute to sustainable development by transferring resources, knowledge, and capital back home.
The Brand Uganda also engages with the global media, through projects such as Media Clubs. We also host groups of journalists on visits to the country.
On the home front
Domestically, our aim is to build and sustain national pride and patriotism. This is being achieved through a number of projects.
Our logo is inspired by the vibrant colours of the country’s national flag, our colours Uganda as a black nation of Africa and reflects our unique and boundary-breaking spirit as Ugandans, and shows just how bright and lively our soul and attitude is, the yellow represents the abundant sunshine Uganda enjoys being situated on the equator, and the red represents Uganda’s brotherhood with the rest of Africa and the world.
BE UGANDAN JUST UGANDAN
Be Ugandan Just Uganda is a nationwide campaign created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in Uganda. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all Ugandans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing – because a nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.
Be Ugandan Just Uganda is aimed at all Ugandans – from corporates to individuals, NGOs to government, churches to schools, young to not so young. It aims to encourage Ugandans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.
There are numerous opportunities, big and small, for each and every Ugandan to make a positive difference in the communities in which they live and operate. Be Ugandan Just Uganda encourages them to act on these opportunities.
The campaign is driven by the Brand Uganda.
Strong leaders and the development of others who are able to assume positions of leadership will be critical to the success of the National Development Plan as well as the sustainability of our country’s democracy. Most significant however, is that leaders are not built by government’s rather by families and communities. How can we therefore play our part to ensure that we nurture the development of leaders in, amongst others, our homes, communities, workplaces?
UGANDA AS A TOURIST DESTINATION
Uganda is endowed with unique and rich ecological and cultural resources, a hidden treasure still to be discovered by the rest of the world. Uganda is one of the biodiversity rich countries with 18,783 species of flora and fauna.
“Uganda’s outstanding traditional hospitality and warm welcome should encourage all of you present here to come and visit and possibly invest in Uganda,” His Excellency the president of Uganda while in London
1. Uganda was voted Number One Tourism Destination for 2012 by the Lonely Planet.
2. Mt. Rwenzori as among the top hiking places in Africa and in the world,
3. Virunga Volcanoes as a must-see-place for 2012, among the 20 places one has to visit in their lifetime.
4. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, famous for its mountain gorillas, was voted the number one birding site in Africa. Murchison Falls was also ranked among top 10 birding sites in Africa.
5. The famous tree climbing lions in Ishasha in Queen Elisabeth National Park was the photo of the month in the National Geographic Magazine.
George Churchill 1908, the then Prime Minister of Britain, after touring Africa concluded that Uganda was indeed the “Pearl of Africa.” Indeed he was right. The River Nile, one of the longest rivers in the world, starts its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea, from Uganda. The country is home to Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and second largest fresh water lake in the world. The lake has beautiful white sand beaches, with cool fresh lake breezes. Mt. Rwenzori, considered as the third highest mountain in Africa, is also in Uganda.
More than half of the 600 still living mountain gorillas in the world are found in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda. In addition, Uganda boasts of varieties of wildlife available in its African savannah national parks, game reserves, forests reserves and swamps. Uganda had over 1,061 species of birds so far recorded. With these bird species, Uganda is considered Africa’s best and most thrilling birding destination. Potential areas for investment in this sector include: Establishment of white sand resort beaches, Construction of wild life/forest lodges, Operating of domestic air transport, and Establishment of a tourism & hospitality training institute.
‘For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life – plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast – for vast scale… Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa’ were the words used by Sir Winston Churchill, in his book “My African Journey” to describe the beautiful tourist attractions of Uganda. Therefore, Uganda is no ordinary safari destination but an experience worthy living.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. This impossibly lush country offers one a unique opportunity to observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippopotamus and crocodiles before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla. Uganda – with its unique blend of savannah and forest creatures, its rare wealth of mountain and lake habitats – is simply dazzling. Uganda offers the most stunning scenery on the continent that includes sparkling lakes, lofty mountains, mysterious forests and game parks swarming with game.
Uganda’s reputation as ‘Africa’s Friendliest Country’ stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. The country’s population is united in providing a warm welcome to foreign guests, so even in the smallest of villages local people will go out of their way to make tourists feel at home.
Culture: Uganda has a population comprised of a complex and diverse range of tribes. More than 33 local languages are spoken in different parts of the country with the Buganda making up the largest ethnic group.
Animals: Whether you are interested in seeing birds, elephants, zebras, leopards or lions, Uganda has an enormous variety of beasts that will satisfy your wild side, guaranteed.
Thrills: Uganda offers an unforgettable white-water rafting experience! Feel the adrenaline pump through your body as you surge down the River Nile at extreme speed.
Wonders: Trek throughout the dense jungle to find yourself amongst some of the last remaining gorilla communities in the world. Nothing compares to this once in a lifetime experience!
Sights: Make sure to bring along enough film (and/or batteries) because Uganda’s lush, green, tropical environment provides ample (if not excessive) photo opportunities. Smile!
Unique Biodiversity and Products
Uganda’s wide range of tourism assets have been exploited to varying degrees. Uganda has 10 national parks, greatly underexploited snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains for year-round hiking and mountaineering. It also includes the “Source of the Nile” which has become a hub for adventure sports mainly white water rafting but also offers bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain biking, off-road driving, motor biking, and international triathlons. It further includes what is the most distinctive of Uganda’s tourism assets, mountain gorillas, of which 360 out of the 600 total worldwide are in Uganda. Other distinctive tourism assets include chimpanzees, Mbuti pygmies, and one of the richest African birding species in the world (having recorded over 1200 bird species, or one sixth of the world’s 8000 or so species). Uganda is only 0.02% of total dry surface of the world but accounts for 7% and 11% of the known world’s birds and mammals respectively.
People and Culture
Situated at the geographical heart of Africa, Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by the 30-plus different indigenous languages and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handicrafts.
A network of ten national parks and several other protected areas offers visitors the opportunity to experience Uganda’s biodiversity and varied eco-systems:
Murchison Falls National Park: the country’s largest protected area whose palm-studded grassland supports dense wildlife populations. Launch trips are available along the Nile below the spectacular waterfall;
Rwenzori Mountains National Park encompass the eastern slopes of the mountains which are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination;
Queen Elizabeth National Park: the lush savannah offers prime grazing to buffalo, elephant and antelope and has a checklist of 600-plus bird species;
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, best known for its gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge for elephant, chimpanzee, monkeys and antelope;
Mgahinga National Park: here mountain gorillas also form the main attraction;
Semliki National Park is of special interest to ornithologists;
Kibale National Park hosts a population of more than 1,000 chimpanzees as well as half-a-dozen readily observed monkey species;
Lake Mburo National Park: this is the closest savannah reserve to Kampala;
Mount Elgon National Park (on the Kenya border) presents a range of Afro-montane forest, grassland and moorland habitats for hikers and climbers; and
Kidepo Valley National Park: located in the far north-east, this remote, wild and little-visited park provides refuge to a long list of dry-country species not found elsewhere in the country, including cheetah.
Uganda, with its 10 national parks, is an emerging tourism destination with considerable potential for investment and growth. Abundant in wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, the country is teeming with untapped tourism attractions and free of the over-commercialization found within the borders of some of its neighbors.
Gorillas and Primates
Uganda’s star attraction is the endangered mountain gorilla, the bulkiest of living primates, fewer than 700 individuals survive, divided between Bwindi National Park and the Virunga Mountains. Within Uganda, five habituated gorilla troops – four in Bwindi and one in Mgahinga National Park can be visited by a total of 30 tourists daily. Chimpanzee communities have been habituated for tourism at Kibale Forest, Budongo Forest,Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kyambura Gorge and on Ngamba Iland in Lake Victoria. Monkeys are also exceptionally well represented in Uganda, especially at Kibale Forest, Mgahinga National Park and Murchison Falls.
Source of the Nile
The source of the Nile – identified by Speke as a small waterfall flowing northwards out of Lake Victoria – now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam at Jinja.
Lakes and Ssese Islands
Roughly one-quarter of Uganda’s surface area consists of wetlands, including marshy expanse of Lake Kyoga, the north-western third of Lake Victoria and the scenic Lakes Albert and Edward which border the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lake Bunyonyi is one of Uganda’s most rapidly developing wetland destinations as well as the cluster of 200 crater lakes that extends northward from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Fort Portal. Several forest-fringed lakes in the vicinity of Kibale Forest have been developed as community-based eco-tourism projects.
The 84 islands – some large and dotted with local fishing villages, others small and uninhabited – of the Ssese Archipelago make an ideal retreat after a long safari. They also offer good opportunities for bird watching and fishing for Nile Perch.
Transitional to the East African savannah and the western rainforests, Uganda is Africa’s most complete bird watching destination, with more than 1,000 recorded species Key sites include Bwindi National Park; Queen Elizabeth National Park; Semliki National Park; Mabamba Swamp, near Entebbe; the community-run guided trail through Bigodi Wetland, near Kibale; Murchison Falls National Park; and Lake Bisina in eastern Uganda.
Uganda is fast developing as a destination for adventure tourism. Bujagali Falls, which lies downstream of the Source of the Nile, is the launching point for a commercial white-water rafting route that ranks as one of most thrilling but also one of the safest in the world. Other activities at Bujagali include kayaking, mountain biking, quad-biking and a new 44 metre-high bungee jump from a cliff above the Nile. Uganda also offers some of Africa’s top hiking and climbing possibilities in the Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Elgon and the Virunga Mountains. There is excellent fishing in numerous inland waters and the opportunity for sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park.
Cities and towns
Kampala, the capital, is set among hills with fine modern architecture, tree-lined avenues, cathedrals, mosques and palaces of the old Kingdom of Buganda, and the Uganda Museum. The Kabaka Tombs are on Kasubi Hill. Jinja, the second-largest town, lies on the shores of Lake Victoria, at the Source of the Nile. There is a lively Saturday market. Entebbe is the main gateway to Uganda for air travellers. It has fine botanical gardens and a lakeside beach, although bathing is not advisable because of the danger of bilharzia. Fort Portal is a good base for exploring the Rwenzori Mountains, while Kisoro is the starting point for climbing Mounts Muhavura and Mgahinga.
UGANDA AS AN INVESTMENT DESTINATION
Uganda’s stable economic environment, liberalized economy, and commitment to the private sector also help create the ideal climate for investment.
Uganda has one of the best climates in Africa that is moderate with cool temperatures, and receives rainfall throughout the year. The country has rich and green vegetation with tropical rain forests and water bodies covering most parts of the country. The River Nile, one of the longest rivers in the world, starts its long journey to Mediterranean Sea from Uganda. Uganda is home to the Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and also the second largest fresh water lake in the world.
Uganda lies astride the equator and enjoys a unique location at the heart of sub-Saharan Africa within the East African region. The country has been able to achieve macro-economic stability when clouds of uncertainty rocked many regions of the world. Uganda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with GDP growth rate averaging 7.7% per annum since the year 2000, making the country the fastest growing economy in East Africa.
Uganda has a wealth of investment prospects, especially in agriculture, Tourism, fisheries, forestry, manufacturing and IT.
Indeed, as one of the leading producers of coffee and bananas in the world, and a major producer of tea, cotton, tobacco, cereals, oilseeds, fresh and preserved fruit, vegetables and nuts, essential oils, flowers and sericulture (silk), agriculture is one of the sectors with a lot of offer.
Another viable sector is fisheries, as it is the second-highest foreign exchange earner for Uganda, with export revenues amounting to an estimated US$220 million in the year 2009. Large fresh water expanses are home to a wide variety of fish products and investment opportunities are available for fish farming and the establishment of more fish processing factories on lakes other than Lake Victoria.
Forestry also is ripe for investment. With over 4.9 million hectares of rich forest vegetation, Uganda possesses abundant potential in areas like timber processing for export, manufacture of high quality furniture/wood products and various packaging materials. There are also opportunities in afforestation and reforestation, especially of medicinal trees and plants, and soft wood plantations for timber, pulp and poles.
Uganda’s manufacturing output has also been expanding by more than 10% annually over the last eight years. Opportunities exist in virtually all areas, ranging from beverages, leather, tobacco based processing, paper, textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, fabrication, ceramics, glass, fertilizers, plastic/PVC, assembly of electronic goods, hi-tech and medical products.
Lastly, Uganda’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is one of the most vibrant within the region, as good legal and regulatory frameworks exist. The newly developed and highly qualitative ICT infrastructure is also ready to accommodate more future investments. Opportunities in ICT include establishment of information and communication infrastructure and broadband services, business process outsourcing services, computer and related equipment hardware assembly, high level ICT training facilities on international standards, ICT business services incubation, hardware repair training facilities, software development niches, setting up information technology virtual zones (ITVZ), and setting up Internet service provider facilities in other parts of Uganda.
WHY INVEST IN UGANDA
Fully Liberalized Economy
All sectors liberalized for investment and marketing
Free inflow and outflow of capital
100% foreign ownership of investment permitted
Uganda enjoys a unique location at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa giving it a commanding base for regional trade and investment
Uganda is a member of the commonwealth market for eastern and Southern African States (COMESA), a region with a market of over 300 million people in 20 countries
Uganda is a member of the East African Community comprising Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania
Duty and quota free access into the US (AGOA) and EU (EBA) markets.
Strong natural Resource Base
Rich endowment of rainfall, soils, and favorable temperature range. A number of crops are grown organically
Unexploited mineral deposits, and tourism opportunities. Confirmed deposits include Gold, Zinc, Wolfram, Petroleum, diamond, vermiculite, silica etc
Government Commitment to Private Sector
Government and private sector dialogue in policy formulation
Continuous improvement in providing infrastructure and other social services
Uganda presently produces over 10,000 University graduates per year
Quality of labour is one of the biggest attractions
Security of Investment
Guaranteed under the Constitution and the Investment Code 1991.
Uganda is a signatory to main international investment related institutions
Multi lateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of US
Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral award (CREFAA), ICSID, TRIMS, GATS, and TRIPS
Investment Capital Allowances
Initial Allowance on plant and machinery 50-75%
Start up cost spread over 4 years 25% p.a.
Scientific research expenditure 100%
Training expenditure 100%
Mineral exploration expenditure 100%
Initial Allowance on Hotel and Industrial Buildings 20%
Deductible annual Allowances (depreciable assets)
Depreciation rates of assets range 20-40%
Depreciation rate for Hotels, Industrial Buildings & Hospitals 5%
. Investors who register as investment traders are entitled to VAT refund on building materials for industrial/commercial buildings
Duty and Tax free import of Plant & Machinery
First Arrival Privileges in the form of duty exemptions for personal effects and motor vehicle (previously owned for at least 12 months) to all investors and expatriates coming to Uganda
Export Zones (Provisional)
A ten year corporation tax holiday
Duty exemption on raw materials, plant and machinery and other inputs
Stamp duty exemption
Duty draw back to apply on input of goods from domestic tariff area
No export tax
Exemption of withholding tax on interest on external loans
Dividends repatriated to get relief from double taxation
Where should you invest?
Investment opportunities abound in the following areas
Printing and publishing
UGANDA’S BUSINESS CLIMATE
Uganda covers an area of 241,038 square kilometers with about a third covered by fresh water bodies and wetlands. It is mainly a plateau astride the equator with favorable tropical climate and average air temperature ranging from 18 to 28 degrees centigrade. It is endowed with variety of flora and fauna species as well as natural resources.
The country has a relatively young population with about 60 per cent below 18 years of age and the total population estimated at 35.9 million people (UBOS 2014) of which 51 percent are female, with diversity of culture and religion. Uganda is a peaceful, stable and secure country. It is under a multi-party democratic dispensation with a decentralized governance system.
Over the last three decades, the economy has moved from recovery to growth based on short-to-medium term planning. However, experience shows that long term planning is a key factor in propelling social-economic development and equitable distribution of wealth in many countries all over the world. A number of Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand among others, adopted long term planning to guide their development paths. The long term planning helped to guide these governments to intervene systematically and through multiple approaches to foster growth.
Uganda’s planning has been characterized by different approaches. The Mixed economy approach to development was a key feature of Uganda’s economic development during 1962-1971. During this period, two medium-term plans were developed. However, this development planning path was interrupted by the Economic War Plan in the 1970’s. The early 1980’s saw the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and then the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) in 1987. Between 1997 and 2008, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) was the overarching planning framework for the country.
In 1999 and 2007, Uganda developed long term perspective development plans, Vision 2025 and Vision 2035, respectively. However, these were not operationalized mainly due to absence of appropriate policy, legal and institutional frameworks. In addition, the development approach and the economic thinking at that time coupled with both external and internal factors could not allow their implementation.
Uganda’s business climate is increasingly becoming more favourable for investment growth, owing to Government’s commitment to support Private Sector Development. Government has undertaken various interventions to enhance the legal, regulatory and the general business environment key among which are: Development of road Infrastructure; institutional reforms, prioritization of energy infrastructure. Transport by road is still a challenge especially in the rural areas to help farmers link up with markets.
Access to the sea though still a big challenge, is being improved and infrastructure at the landing ports of Port Bell and Jinja Piers is gradually getting better. Once improved, this should be a drive for investments in the ferries which would not only improve water transport over Lake Victoria but also connect Uganda to the sea through Dar- es- Salaam. Regarding ICT, creating a backbone for the Faber Optic cable interconnection throughout the country and to the rest of the world through the Marine Cable at Mombasa is expected to be a basis for reducing the costs of transmitting Data and using ICT to improve Uganda’s exports especially through business processing operations. This technology will make Ugandan businesses more competitive locally and in export markets.
Government appreciates the challenges of Energy and the Railway. These are particularly very poor yet the availability of cheaper power and efficient rail system would greatly reduce the cost of doing business for Uganda. The two are extremely vital for a competitive economy and call for more investments. With regard to Commercial Laws; – Government continues to make efforts to ensure that they are enacted so that it is easy to start, operate or close business.
POLITICAL CLIMATE IN UGANDA
By late 1980s, Uganda Government led by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) under His Excellence Presindent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has seen a measure of stability, economic growth and even “political freedom”, especially since the adoption of the new Constitution in October l995 and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections in May and June 1996 and May 2001, in marked contrast to the misrule of the past, particularly between 1966 and 1985.
The institutional reforms put into place by the NRM administration have indeed fostered a more accountable and representative government. The general human rights climate in Uganda has improved significantly because of these institutional changes introduced by the NRM administration. Parliament as an institution is vocal and assertive. The judiciary, at whose apex is a court of appeal (which also functions as the constitutional court), is independent. The press is free and vibrant and thoroughly irreverent of persons in authority. The non-governmental organization (NGO) sector and other organs of civil society are assertive.
In general, Uganda is politically stable with three ruling bodies that is the executive, judiciary and legislature hence a democratic country that hosted the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (November 2007) led by Her Majesty the Queen of England .Besides, Uganda year by year is embracing tremendous development in the political and social-economical spheres. Therefore Uganda is safe for investment.
President: Yoweri Museveni (1986)
Prime Minister: Ruhakana Rugunda (2014)
Land area: 77,108 sq mi (199,710 sq km); total area: 91,135 sq mi (236,040 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 35,918,915 (growth rate: 3.24%); birth rate: 44.17/1000; infant mortality rate: 60.82/1000; life expectancy: 54.46
Capital city: Kampala, 1.659 million
Monetary unit: Ugandan new shilling
Uganda, twice the size of Pennsylvania, is in East Africa. It is bordered on the west by Congo, on the north by the Sudan, on the east by Kenya, and on the south by Tanzania and Rwanda. The country, which lies across the equator, is divided into three main areas—swampy lowlands, a fertile plateau with wooded hills, and a desert region. Lake Victoria forms part of the southern border.
Multiparty democractic republic.
HISTORY OF UGANDA
About 500 B.C. Bantu-speaking peoples migrated to the area now called Uganda. By the 14th century, three kingdoms dominated, Buganda (meaning “state of the Gandas”), Bunyoro, and Ankole. Uganda was first explored by Europeans as well as Arab traders in 1844. An Anglo-German agreement of 1890 declared it to be in the British sphere of influence in Africa, and the Imperial British East Africa Company was chartered to develop the area. The company did not prosper financially, and in 1894 a British protectorate was proclaimed. Few Europeans permanently settled in Uganda, but it attracted many Indians, who became important players in Ugandan commerce.
Uganda became independent on Oct. 9, 1962. Sir Edward Mutesa, the king of Buganda (Mutesa II), was elected the first president, and Milton Obote the first prime minister, of the newly independent country. With the help of a young army officer, Col. Idi Amin, Prime Minister Obote seized control of the government from President Mutesa four years later.
GENERAL INSTITUTIONAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
In 1995, the Government restored the legal system to one based on English common law and customary law. In addition, the Government has set up a ‘one-stop shop’ for investors. Fiscal incentives have been revised to attract foreign investment and new regulations allow for tax breaks and mutual agreements to avoid double taxation.
LAND TENURE SYSTEM
There are 4 major land regimes in Uganda:
Customary Land Tenure: over 80 percent of land in Uganda is held on customary tenure system.
Freehold Land Tenure: very little land is held under freehold tenure in Uganda. Freehold is the premier mode of private land ownership under English law. Transactions involving freehold land are governed by the Registration of Titles Act.
Mailo Land Tenure: land held under mailo tenure is confined to Buganda (Central Uganda).Essentially feudal in character, the mailo tenure system recognises occupancy by tenants (locally called Kibanja holders), whose relationship with their overlords is now governed by the provisions of the Land Act.
Leasehold Tenure: the leasehold applies to every tenure regime whether customary, freehold or mailo. The leasehold transactions, being essentially contractual, allow parties to define the terms and conditions of access in such a manner as to suit their reciprocal land use needs.
According to the Land Act (1998), foreign investors (self or company) are not allowed to buy land outright, but can lease land for up to 99 years. However, companies with local shareholding participation of 50% or more can buy land outright but the transactions must follow the nature on the land tenure.
The Uganda Government’s economic strategy is to modernize the economy through relying on markets and the efforts of entrepreneurs as the basis for efficient and productive economic activity. Government’s major role in Uganda’s private sector driven economy is mainly to provide the necessary legal policy and physical infrastructure for private investment to flourish. This strategy, endorsed by the World Bank, other donors and the private sector, is already showing results as witnessed by the country’s strong economic performance in the last ten years.
Established in 1991, the Investment Code aims at providing conditions that are favourable for investment. The Code provides for certain incentives to investors. The Code allows foreign investors to invest in all fields except those, which compromise national security and ownership of land. Foreign investors may, however, lease land for up to 99 years. Foreign investors can also participate in joint ventures involving the outright purchase of agricultural land. For such cases, Ugandans must hold the majority stake. Aside from this, Uganda imposes no limitations whatsoever, on foreign investors. Full 100 percent foreign ownership of investments in the country is allowed. Foreign investors are also free to bring in and take their capital out of Uganda with no restrictions.
The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is a one-stop facilitator for investors, mandated by an Act of Parliament (1991) to attract, promote and facilitate investment in Uganda. UIA assists investors to expediently implement their business plans and serves as the first and most comprehensive point of contact for investors in Uganda. In addition, UIA continually advises Government on the best practice policies regarding investment in Uganda as a whole.
UIA offers the following services to investors:
Providing first-hand information on investment opportunities in Uganda;
Promoting Uganda as an investment location for investors;
Helping investors to implement their project ideas through professional advice and assistance in locating relevant project support services;
Helping investors to secure secondary licences and approvals;
Arranging contacts for investors and organizing itineraries for visiting foreign missions within the country;
Assisting investors in seeking joint venture partners and funding;
Ensuring protection for intellectual property and trade secrets where technology transfer is involved; and
Reviewing and making policy recommendations to government about investment.
Uganda is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) which protects investors against non-commercial risks.
Uganda’s fiscal incentive package provides for generous capital recovery terms, particularly for investors whose projects entail significant investment in plant and machinery and whose investments are medium/long term. The incentives package provides generous capital recovery terms, particularly for investors whose projects entail significant investment in plant and machinery and whose investments are likely to yield profits over the longer term.
The rights and incentives package includes:
Zero rate of tax on imports of plant, machinery and equipment;
7% import duty on specialised tourist vehicles
VAT deferral facility for plant, machinery and specialised tourist vehicles;
Guaranteed repatriation of profits and dividends;
Guarantee against non-commercial risks through the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA);
Up to 100% foreign ownership of investments allowed;
Capital allowances of 50% on plant and machinery for projects located in Kampala, Entebbe, Namanve, Jinja and Njeru. Outside these areas the deductible allowance is 75%. The initial allowance on hotel and industrial buildings is 20%;
Start-up costs spread over the first four years at 25% per annum;
100% allowance on scientific research expenditure and training expenditure also deductible once from the company’s income;
A deductible annual allowance on depreciable assets under the declining balance method, varying from 40% for computers and data handling equipment to 5% for industrial buildings hotels and hospitals;
A nominal corporate tax rate of 30% which is amongst the lowest in Africa; and
Duty drawback/refund for exporters.
Enhanced incentives are available in Export Zones (such as the World Bank-supported Kampala Industrial and Business Park), including (provisional) a ten year corporation tax holiday; duty exemption on raw materials, plant and machinery and other inputs; stamp duty exemption; duty draw back to apply on input of goods from domestic tariff area; no export tax; exemption of withholding tax on interest on external loans; and dividends repatriated to get relief from double taxation.
ACCESS TO FINANCE
The Bank of Uganda (BOU) is the country’s central bank.
The main commercial banks include: Allied International Bank; Bank of Baroda; Barclays Bank; Cairo International Bank; Centenary Bank; Citibank; Crane Bank; Diamond Trust Bank; Dfcu Bank; National Bank of Commerce; Nile Bank; Orient Bank; Stanbic Bank; Standard Chartered Bank and Tropical Bank. The Development Finance Company of Uganda group is a consumer bank, mortgage bank, development finance bank and commercial bank in Uganda. The East African Development Bank (EADB) also provides development finance in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Uganda, as a signatory to the agreement between African, Caribbean and Pacific nations (ACP) and the European Union, known as the Cotonou Agreement, has access to the facilities of the European Investment Bank (EIB). As a member of the World Bank, the facilities of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) would also be available for projects in Uganda. Other potential development finance sources include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the East African Development Bank (EADB), the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd (IDC) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
TRANSFER OF CAPITAL AND PROFITS
Foreign investors with established businesses in Uganda can readily make payments overseas. Payments for imports and service related charges can also be made at the commercial banks without any prior approval. Similarly, dividend and capital payments are allowed subject to the tax laws of the country.
We are proud to support, and be supported by, the Office of the Presidency, the Ugandan Government, UIA, MOTH, PSF, USAID, AIRTEL