By Our Reporter
The Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has returned from a “fruitful” working visit to India where he held meetings with business leaders, captains of industry and political leaders looking to explore new potential areas of cooperation.
Accompanied by several Uganda-based Indian businessmen, Dr. Rugunda met and discussed with influential several Indian investors.
He met with automobile giants Tata Group, pharmaceutical companies, makers of solar powered irrigation solutions, seed producers and those involved in light manufacturing among others.
The Premier told his hosts about the investment opportunities in Uganda, including sectors such as agro-processing, ICT, infrastructure, tourism and medical services.
To buttress the point that Uganda considers India, and Mumbai in particular, as a priority, the country has recently established a consular office in Mumbai and appointed a highly regarded businessman Mr Agarwal to lead the office. The GDP of India and Africa would be close to $35trillion by 2050, with a combined population of close to four billion people.
While in Mumbai, Prime Minister Rugunda also sought to appreciate India’s cultural tourism by visiting some historical sites such as the Elephanta Caves on an island off the Arabian Sea. This historical site of religious importance has been preserved for centuries and was recognized by UNESCO as a Heritage Site.
Prime Minister Rugunda concluded his Mumbai visit by paying a courtesy call on the Governor of Maharashtra, Rao at his palace in Mumbai.
In the two days that followed on March 9th and 10th, Dr Rugunda was a guest speaker at the 12 CII Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Partnership Project at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi.
Speaking alongside King Mswati III of Swaziland and India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, the Prime Minister told a hugely packed room that Africa was open to partner with their Indian counterparts to deliver prosperity to the citizens of the two regions.
He assured Indian businessmen that their investments in Africa would be safe secure and bring impressive returns.
He also welcomed the move by the organizers of the conclave to convene the 13th edition in Africa and offered Uganda’s readiness to host it on behalf of the continent.
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee said that a new spirit of awakening and cooperation with African countries had begun, and called upon the participants of the business forum to take full advantage of it.
King Mswati III of Swaziland observed that Indian industries could play a key role in helping Africa’s manufacturing sector move up the value chain.
Dr Rugunda met several other business people in New Delhi and visited some service providers such as the visa and passport processing centers with a view to picking lessons for Uganda.
He also paid courtesy calls on President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Ansari, who has just left Uganda on a state visit.