On 21st December 2016, Uganda Investment Authority held the 9th Home is Best Diaspora Summit at Hotel Africana presided over by Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. He welcomed the diaspora Ugandans to the 9th HIB summit 2016 under the theme, Diaspora Investment; A bridge to the Middle Income Economy. He informed the diaspora people that the main objective of this summit is to mobilize Ugandans in the diaspora to invest back home. “We want to identify the constraints to investment growth and find solutions together with you our comrades from the diaspora” He said. He urged the Ugandans at home to be trustworthy and true to themselves. He further encouraged them to get their richness through honest means and not to steal from the diaspora Ugandans.
Hon. Minister also emphasized that government’s partnership with people from the diaspora is critical for our country’s economic growth and development. “According to the World Bank immigrations remittances fact book 2012, remittances to Uganda surpassed earnings from her major traditional exports. The diaspora therefore is recognized as a very important resource to our economy.” He said. The Minister appreciated all those who have either invested or remitted money to boost productivity in our economy.
The keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Muvawala discussed the linkages between the diaspora resources and the financial service sector. He advised the diaspora Ugandans to invest in innovations such as banking, electronic payment systems, warehouse receipting and mobile money. “The country needs products that reach the low income segments in a modern diversified manner.” He said.
Mr Piwang Jalobo, a UIA board member and Chairman IPPRC, in his welcoming remarks informed the people that our emphasis this year is on the financial sector, given the Diaspora contribution to the Uganda economy has reached upwards to US $1 Billion in various sectors such as Education, Finance, Health Care, Services and General consumption. In his personal story as a diaspora investor at home in the mid 1990s, he faced a number of financial hurdles for no bank or financial institution in Kampala would give them any development or working capital loan unless they had collateral within 5-mile radius of Kampala City in Central Uganda. He encouraged the diaspora not to give up and appealed to them to believe, hope and love their country.
The Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. P. Mugoya on behalf of Hon Sam Kuteesa closed off the event by congratulating UIA for organizing this particular summit. He believed that this productive and meaningful meeting has provided a platform within which all stakeholders were able to share their views and ideas about how the diaspora can be mobilized to contribute more towards the development of Uganda. “This government- diaspora interface is important because it provides all of us with an opportunity not only to engage in issues of concern but also those of mutual benefit in the advancement of Uganda’s interest abroad.” He said. He advised all Ugandans abroad to register at the nearest Ugandan missions where they stay since it is important in helping to address the problems they face in a timely manner. Lastly he congratulated UIA for coming up with the brilliant idea of the Home is Best Diaspora Summit.