Uganda’s president to host Uganda-Turkiye business summit
Summit, co-hosted by Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkiye, will attract over 600 investors
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will preside over a Uganda-Turkiye business summit in the capital Kampala on May 12-13.
The summit, co-hosted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkiye (DEIK), will attract over 600 investors and promote investment, trade and tourism between the two nations. The Uganda-Turkiye Industrial Park and Trade Centre construction project will be launched during the summit.
Uganda and Turkiye have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations for more than 50 years and both countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and have implemented several joint projects.
Uganda wants to access markets in Turkiye, with a population of over 85 million, a GDP of over $700 billion and occupying a unique geographic position, lying partly in Europe and partly in Asia, a bridge between the two continents.
Anadolu Agency secured an exclusive interview with Turkish ambassador to Uganda Fikret Kerem Alp, in which he shed more light on the issues of double taxation, bilateral agreements, and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between Uganda and Turkiye on education, culture and investment promotion and protection. He also discussed the safety and security of Turkish people staying in and travelling to Uganda.
“We have engagements on different protocols that may be concluded, for example double taxation avoidance. This is very important to improve investment and trade opportunities for both countries,” he said.
“We are looking at other protocols in the areas of education with the Maarif Foundation,” he added, referring to the Turkish government agency established to replace Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) linked schools abroad in the wake of the 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkiye.
Turkiye and Uganda established diplomatic ties more than 50 years ago and enjoy good bilateral relations. FETO capitalized on this opportunity and the sympathy of the Turkish people to mobilize resources and establish a base in Uganda, where it runs schools and hospitals, among other things.
During Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Uganda in 2016, the leaders agreed on solid cooperation regarding the FETO terrorist organization. Uganda gave assurances that it would not allow anything that undermines Turkiye to be done by anyone using its territory.
Ambassador Alp said that some FETO elements still exist in Uganda, offering sham services in education and health, adding that engagements with Ugandan authorities on FETO assets are progressive, noting that Turkiye will provide alternatives to the Ugandan government to the existing infrastructure so there is no vacuum left after FETO completely stops operating in Uganda.
“The Maarif Foundation visited Uganda and held talks with the government on the transfer of FETO assets. We are looking forward to also having an MoU on this,” Alp said.
In October 2021 and March 2022, President Yoweri Museveni met with a delegation of investors from Turkiye led by Ambassador Alp in which he called for more Turkish investments in Uganda.
The summit is aimed at identifying, engaging and attracting new investment leads from Turkiye and promoting Uganda as an investment destination in Africa. The focus is on key growth sectors in Uganda, namely manufacturing, industrial parks, mineral beneficiation, agro value addition, tourism, and the development of Uganda’s infrastructure. It will be an opportunity for Ugandan businesses to form joint ventures with Turkish businesses, according to the ambassador.
“There exist immense economic potentials that are capable of transforming Uganda into a key investment destination for Turkiye in Africa. The trade volume between the two countries increased. Turkish exports to Uganda increased by 26% and Uganda’s exports to Turkiye increased by 418%, and the trend is projected to continue. We hope to realize shared prosperity,” Alp said.
Turkiye exports machinery to Uganda as well as furniture, lubricants, textiles, energy products and other products while Uganda exports mainly agricultural products such as coffee, tea and processed fruits as well as handicrafts.
The ambassador told Anadolu Agency that Uganda is generally safe for Turkish tourists and visitors, with the exception of petty crimes like any other country in the world.
“Even if I were not an ambassador to Uganda, I would come as a tourist. Uganda has various amazing sceneries including waterfalls, lush rolling hills, sparkling lakes, vast tracts of the Savannah grasslands and adventure parks, mysterious forests and lofty mountains and important landmarks. The list is endless,” he said.
He said Turkiye’s state-run aid agency the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is actively engaged in various life changing activities to better the lives of Ugandans.