Uganda holds the 7th Home is Best summitDec 22, 2014
Gulu - Northern Uganda has been identified as hotspot for commerce in Uganda after its rapid rise out of the ashes of long conflict to a steady path of development in the recent years.
This was revealed during the 7th Home is Best summit held at Churchill Hotel in Gulu district and intended to attract potential investors to this virgin market. Although mini-summits have been held in other districts, this is the first main Home is Best summit to be held outside Kampala.
The summit is designed to bring together Ugandans living in the diaspora and the local populace to discuss the investment opportunities in country as well as mobilising the international business community to invest in Uganda.
“If we are going to attract investors to Northern Uganda, there is need to keep peace and stability in the region so that they are not scared away, we need to ensure that the past conflicts do not happen again so they feel safe to come here and invest,” Hon. Hilary Onek said in his remarks during the closing meeting of the five days summit.
Hon. Onek added that Ugandans in the diaspora should all be encouraged to invest their money back home to help develop the country so that when they return home, it is also developed to the level of the places they have been living.
Speaking on behalf of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Patience Alidri, the Assistant Country Director said she was pleased to see that this year’s summit was focusing on Northern Uganda, which is one of the UNDP’s main focus areas.
Ms. Alidri said that UNDP supports Northern Uganda through its Local Development and Social Cohesion project which aims to contribute to the social and economic stabilisation of the region particularly for the youth and women who are given skills that they can use to improve their lives.
“We hope that this summit will increase the Diaspora's interest in the development of the region because this interest will spur invest that will create employment and improve livelihoods for the people of Northern Uganda, especially the marginalised and vulnerable groups such as women and youth who need capital and mentoring, all of which members of the diaspora can provide for the betterment of our country,” she added.
John Musajjakawa a representative from Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) noted that the Home is Best summits are one of the many efforts to support the Uganda Diaspora participate actively in the private investment back home and contribute to the national economic development.
“We take such conferences as a must attend because we want to find out what ideas the people back home have so that we can go back and work on them to come up with practical investment ideas that can work in Uganda,” Belton Mubiru Chairperson of the diaspora group said.
The one week summit which attracted various Ugandans living in diaspora, officials from government ministries and agencies, the business community, manufacturers, and service providers and provided a chance for networking for both diaspora Ugandans and locals presenting great business opportunities for the participants from the region and beyond. The summit included various side events including an exhibition, a cultural gala and business to business meetings.
The diaspora community is an important resource for the Ugandan economy as it contributes over US $1 billion dollars in remittances each year, exceeding revenues from coffee and other leading commodity exports.
The summits organised by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) in partnership with other government Ministries and Departments and the private sector are one of the many efforts to bring the Ugandan Diaspora into active participation in the private investment back home and contribute to national economic development.
UNDP supports these efforts through its Capacity Building for Strengthening Diaspora Resource Mobilisation and Utilisation project, where it supports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bank of Uganda and Uganda Investment Authority to capture contributions from the diaspora and also provide ways in which those in the diaspora can continue to contribute to national development.