The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa has said that the private sector is the key driver for sustained economic growth in Uganda.
Speaking at the Uganda-Iran Economic forum which took place at the Conference Centre in Kampala this morning, Kutesa, who is leading the Uganda delegation, said the East African country will pursue both domestic and foreign direct investment for increased productivity, job creation and improvement of livelihoods.
The economic forum comprises of business delegations from both Government and the Private Sector of Uganda and Iran, the latter led by foreign minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“Iranian companies and individuals should take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in Uganda, especially in agriculture and agro-processing, oil and gas, minerals, ICT, human resource development, energy, Tourism, and infrastructure development”, he said. He hailed the Economic Forum as a strong first step that he hoped would yield tangible benefits and help attain the objectives set out in the MoUs signed under the Uganda-Iran Cooperation framework over the years.
On his part Dr Zarif, who is accompanied by seven of Iran’s top businessmen, noted that his delegation includes representatives of every sector of business in Iran at their highest level, with investment companies focusing on high-tech agricultural production including nano-fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, bio-tech and manufacturing.
Later, during a bi-lateral meeting between the two ministers held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Zarif emphasized that science-based Iranian companies are prepared to export their products to Uganda, and to also to transfer the technologies for use in Uganda and the EAC, which has a combined population of over 170 million people.
In response minister Kutesa informed his Iranian counterpart that the same regions were also working on a Tripartite EAC-COMESA-SADC Free Trade Area which comprises of 26 countries with a total of 600 million people and combined GDP of nearly 1 trillion US Dollars, giving Iranian foreign Direct Investments access to a big regional market with Uganda at its center.
Dr. Zarif accompanied is scheduled to meet President Yoweri Museveni this afternoon and the two will preside over the opening of phase one of the Iran-Uganda Clinic in Naguru.