The private sector’s role in driving innovation, investment

The private sector's role in driving innovation, investment

By Jacklina Mutesi 

Last week, Business perspective took an all-inclusive look at strengthening bilateral ties between Uganda and South Africa.

This week, on Business Perspective that aired on Monday, August 28, the focus was on the promise of propelling economic growth and collaboration between the two nations.

While latest data from the Bank of Uganda shows that the East African nation and South Africa’s trade volumes increased from a measly 76 million USD in 1999 to over 334 million USD in 2019, the consequent trade volumes show that trade and investment volumes have been skewed in favour of the South Africa.

The disparity may be explained by the value of exports from both countries. While Uganda exports low vale, rarely value-added products such as cotton, fish fillets, tobacco, coffee and fresh flowers, S.A exports products such as petroleum, textiles, aircraft, chemicals, electronics and accessories, and household goods.


Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO Private Sector foundation Uganda, attributed disparity in balance of trade to several issues, not least of these visa and customs issues. He highlighted the need for integrated customs systems and accredited economic operator status to facilitate balanced trade.

The Private sector contributed over 50% of financing to the country’s budget for financial year 2022-2023, and currently accounts for 90% of all non-farm jobs in the country. Yet according to the World Bank, attracting more FDI and supporting local firms to upgrade products would propel the sector tenfold.

Collaboration in key sectors such as agriculture, energy, tourism and services would help increase access to information, skilling and markets for Uganda.

With many key businesses such as MTN Uganda originating from South Africa, Enid Edroma, the General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Uganda shared that the business environment, political climate, young and willing to learn, embrace new skills have all made doing business in Uganda profitable.

As the telecom company celebrates 25 years in operation in Uganda, Edroma shared that with collaboration, partnership and engagement between the two countries, the future is indeed economically bright.

Business Perspective airs on Monday at 8pm on NBS Television