The Uganda Investment Authority launched five new commitments at the AGRF Deal Room on Monday 6 September, 2021, which will see some significant changes to support for agricultural investors.
“We are describing our five-point plan as a process of fast evolution of support service,” explained Paul Kyalimpa the Deputy Director Generalof the Uganda Investment Authority. “The plan has been evolving for some time and started from a change meeting with CASA at the AGRF conference back in 2019. We found in CASA a shared agenda to encourage investors to look again at the opportunities presented by the Ugandan agriculture and food processing sectors. Uganda has a One Stop Centre in place to support investors. But we sensed we needed to understand more about what roadblocks were stopping investments being made.”
In July 2021 CASA facilitated an Agriculture Investment Summit in Uganda in partnership with the Uganda Investment Authority, AGRA and other stakeholders interested eager to explore how policy and practice could open-up investment in agriculture in Uganda. Prior to the summit CASA had undertaken a series of frank conversations with investors and other stakeholders. This process also led to investor champions being recruited who became the spokesperson for the working groups at the summit. David Wangolo of Pearl Capital was the investor champion for forms of capital; Mahmood Hudda, Mairye Estate Uganda, was investor champion on enabling environments; and Jasmin Hidanovic, AgDevCo was investor champion on technical assistance
Alvaro Valverde from CASA picks up the story: “The preliminary activity helped the partners identify the champions and the three broad areas of concern. These were addressed in a Zoom conference which produced a long-list of issues, concerns and suggested improvements. It was amazing what was achieved in around 2 hours. The Uganda Investment Authority identified five areas where quick progress could be made. These were the basis of the presentation at the AGRF Deal Room yesterday. CASA is proud to have played a part in the process that resulted in this plan. We have every confidence that the highly skilled team in Uganda will deliver on all five points. CASA stands poised to help in any way we can.”
The Uganda Investment Authority’s five new commitments are:
Making agricultural finance more accessible to SMEs and smallholders
The Uganda Investment Authority supports alternative financing for SMEs (private equity / venture capital financing through an annual conference) and has arrangements in place to connect SMEs to the Uganda Development Bank. The country has also introduced an agricultural insurance scheme.
New commitment: The Uganda Investment Authority will work with Uganda Development Bank the Uganda Banks Association and the Ministry of Finance to establish the impediments faced by banks trying to access Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme and find a way forward.
Funding from the World Bank is supporting the development of a database which can function as a farmer information management system able to drive an e-voucher scheme. The database will also function as an agricultural marketing information system and a basis for statistical modelling.
New commitment: The Uganda Investment Authority will produce a database of small-scale businesses and farmer groups by the end of 2021
Developing and enforcing quality standards
Under the Presidential Investment Round Table (PIRT) on Agriculture, it works to increase the quality and quantity of agricultural products available to export regionally and internationally. This requires better control and laboratory testing of agricultural produce to ensure international standards are met.
New commitment: Push ahead with an inter-institutional working group to define a pathway for resolving quality issues
Promote the investment one-stop centre
New commitment: Uganda Investment Authority will develop and implement a communication strategy for promotion of the one stop centre as the single access point for information and service transactions for investors
Increasing public investment in market enhancing infrastructure particularly for export focused crops
The Uganda Investment Authority works the Uganda Free Zones Authority creating opportunities for export-oriented investment and job creation. Incentives include tax exemption on income from Agri-processing. Work with the Uganda Export Facilitation Programme is establishing collection, bulking and export facilities.
New commitment: The Uganda Investment Authority together with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and other central government partners will identify priority investment needs and costs for agricultural export infrastructure in key commodity and food crops.