Uganda, Austria discuss investment opportunities in key sectors
President Yoweri Museveni has met the former Chancellor of Austria His Excellency Alfred Gusenbauer who called on him this afternoon at State House Entebbe.
Gusenbauer was leading a very powerful delegation of investors interested in investing in the sectors of agriculture, housing and construction, affordable solutions, Information Technology, forestry and environment and architecture.
The former Chancellor thanked President Museveni for the warm welcome accorded to them and hoped that the economic ties between the two countries will deepen as Austrian investors have expressed their interest in investing in various sectors of Uganda’s economy.
On housing, President Museveni informed his guests that Uganda needs a big number of institutional houses for teachers, medical personnel, police and industrial workers among others.
He, therefore, recommended the company dealing in housing to link up with the National Enterprises of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and that of the National Housing to explore ways and means of partnering in the construction of houses.
“There is a big housing deficit, you can get in touch with the National Enterprises of the Army and the National Housing to discuss the building of houses en-masse,” he counselled.
The President also told the Austrian visitors about the unique climate of Africa and Uganda in particular, adding that the altitude of some parts of the country go up to 5,000 meters above sea level.
“That is why you get snow in some areas. There are 2 other areas, parts of Kenya and Ecuador in South America that have more or less the same altitude,” he said.
On the issue of Industrial Machinery, President Museveni asked the Austrian investors to interest themselves in the technology and equipment for Ugandan manufacturers, especially in the processing of coffee, beef, leather, fruits, milk, fish, minerals and forest products. He added that bamboo trees for the production of paper will be included in the forest sector.
“This is a win-win situation. The equipment will be given to private people, like the Danes helped with the milk equipment. The relations in these sectors would be endless,” he pointed out.
On the conservation of wetlands, President Museveni emphasized the need to get people out of swamps because of the immense damage they are inflicting on the wetlands by growing rice.
He further invited them to visit some of the swamps in the Eastern parts of the country in Busoga and Bukedi to see for themselves the damage rice growing that he described as ‘rice aggression’ has inflicted on the wetlands.
The President explained that wetlands are very crucial in the desilting of water bodies that flow to the lake. He further added that wetlands through transpiration of the vapor that is thrown into the atmosphere make rain that accounts for 40%.
“So if the swamps are destroyed, then rain formation or the 40% will also be adversely affected. So, we are getting people out of the wetlands in what we call land reclamation,” the President stressed.
On reforestation, Mr. Museveni noted that the main challenge is to end encroachment as trees easily grow. He cited the pine trees that take only 7 years to mature in Uganda unlike in Sweden where it takes the same tree 120 years to mature.
The President however noted that the project would do very well on bare hills where you can plant, harvest and re-plant.
Commenting on architecture, President Museveni noted that a lot of construction is going on in the country, citing industrial parks. He advised the Austrian investors to meet local architects as well as those in the Ministry of Housing for further networking and partnering.
The meeting was also attended by the Consul General of Uganda in Austria who is also the Representative of Uganda Investment Authority in Austria Ms. Olivia Mugabe Mitterer.