H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda
In his New Year Message, President Museveni has extended an invitation to investors to take advantage of the peace in the country and the improving infrastructure; which lead to reduced costs of doing business. In a wide-ranging New Year message, the President laid out key sectoral achievements and targets which are drivers towards achieving middle income status. Stressing the role of infrastructure, especially power, in socio-economic transformation, the President said abundant and cheaper power will stimulate and drive the pace of industrialization. The key sectoral achievements and targets he outlined include: the re-establishment of Uganda Airlines, the development of an investment climate advisory service, the construction of water schemes for human consumption and for production, the fast-tracking of the East African Gauge Railway and industrialization.
The re-establishment of Uganda Airlines is a crucial step in addressing the challenge of access to Uganda, a landlocked country. It is expected that the national carrier will cut the cost of air travel to Uganda and facilitate the development of a country-wide network which should bring the country closer by reducing the time cost of travel. Equally crucial in making the country more accessible at cheaper cost is the development of the East African Gauge Railway: which has the added advantage of reducing the cost of time in linking Uganda to East African Community markets, as well as to other regional and international markets.
The achievements as well as the challenges in the water sector are at the core of Uganda's economic production and productivity. Water for human consumption needs to be available in all parts of the country so as to ensure the health of the population, the principal engine of economic production and productivity. Water for production is key to the success and transformation of Uganda's agriculture-based rural economy; which needs to shift from dependence on rain-fed agriculture. With increasing changes in weather patterns, the response to the challenges of reduced productivity in agriculture must be irrigation which is one of the key targets of water for production schemes in the country.
The President pointed to the challenge of industrializing the country calling it the means to achieving economic prosperity. He referred to Uganda's comparative advantage in key areas which could be exploited by industry drawn to set up their production firms in the country. He was confident that some of the bottlenecks which used to frustrate the location of industry in various parts of the country have been dealt with: including availability of electricity, better roads, a better educated labor force, etc.
Uganda's Industrialization process puts a high premium on electricity: a big challenge which Uganda is facing by an electrification programme on the Nile, through mini hydro dams, and through solar power technologies. The latest of these is the 10 Megawatts solar power station, one of the largest in Africa, which is based in Soroti and evacuates electric power to the national grid; enhancing availability of power in the eastern and northern parts of the country.