Ugandan investors looking to tap Chinese technology, secure partnership deals

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The first Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition also known as the China –Uganda Expo seems to be in a mission to solidify the economic ties between the two countries—Uganda and China.
From the onset, the China-Uganda Expo, resulting from a high-level negotiations, is proving to be a platform where local investors can easily learn new Chinese industrial technologies (Innovations) in return for joint venture (partnerships) deals.
Unlike many Expos held in Uganda before, this one, bringing together at least 43 enterprises from 12 Chinese provinces and cities has reasonable clear cut expectations.

The Chinese companies’ main objective is to try to attract partnerships (joint ventures) and investment opportunities in Uganda in several economic sub sectors including engineering, machineries, energy and agriculture as well as automobiles.

This fits in well with the eventual objective of the Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition, an initiative negotiated at the highest level of the two government’s decision making body.
Meanwhile, the leaderships of business associations in the country have described this as a win-win arrangement. They say it will form a basis upon which the two countries, Uganda and China, can together, going forward, forge a formidable economic partnership.

Representative of the local SMEs also believes that the Expo which kicked off earlier in the week has a huge bearing in turning around the country’s export market as well as secure fair partnership deals between the local entrepreneurs and the Chinese based investors.
Importantly perhaps, this high-level exposition, the first of its kind in Uganda, is one of the initiatives to further promote the implementation of the new measures of the Beijing Summit and build a platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa.
The success of the high level Expo held in Kampala, Uganda for the first, but the third in a series of China-Africa expositions having held the first two in Kenya and Ethiopia in November and December 2018 respectively, was evident.

During the Beijing Summit for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Beijing in September 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will launch “Eight Major Initiatives“ together with Africa, draw a blueprint for the development of China-Africa relations in the new era, and open a grand chapter in China-Africa cooperation in the new age.

Speaking In an interview after the launch of the Expo earlier in the week, the president and chief executive officer of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Olive Zaitun Kigongo, said local investors (SMEs) have everything to gain particularly through not only learning from the Chinese companies but by also securing joint venture deals with Chinese companies.

She said: “I have seen some millings machines and water equipment and many other facilities that could suit our situation, especially cottage industry very well. We hope our SMEs will learn from all these experiences.”
As for the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Acting Director-General, Lawrence Byensi, China-Uganda Expo will no doubt have an impact on the estimated 20 per cent per annum investment growth target that the investment prefect is trying to achieve. He describes the Expo as an eye opener to our local SMEs whom he said have a lot to learn from Chinese Investors.

Communication and Business Support Manager at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Mr Robert Joseph Mawanda said in an interview that already there are more than 40 Chinese Companies who are members of the manufacturers umbrella association, all contributing to the economy as well as supporting the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda initiative. Those exhibiting with a view to cut joint venture deals and pass over technology, he said can pick a cue from Chinese companies that are already members of the (UMA) association.
As for the Chinese embassy in Uganda and the visiting investors this Expo is a dream come true.

“This expo is an important measure to strengthen economic, trade and investment cooperation between China and Uganda,” the economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, Ms Zhao Xiufen, said during the announcement of the 2019 China-Uganda Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition.
She continued: “It is hoped that the relevant business representatives and exhibitors will have in-depth exchanges, establish contacts and explore opportunities for development cooperation.”

According to the team leader of China International Exhibition Centre, Ms Lydia Sun, the Expo is a platform for governments, businesses and trade circles between China and Uganda to work hand in hand, promote trade and investment to achieve mutual benefits.
China-Uganda Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition (China-Uganda Expo) was organized by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in collaboration with China Africa Development Fund, Uganda Investment Authority, and Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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