Opportunities in Pharmaceuticals

Uganda combines a growing pharma market with access to the EAC market of 175 million people. With relatively high levels of skills and education and an investor-friendly environment, Uganda is a burgeoning pharmaceuticals centre.

Why Uganda ?

  • Uganda has a large domestic market with demand for edible oils expanding rapidly (Uganda’s imports of edible oils increased more than five-fold to over $ 30 million in 2017).
  • Member of EAC, which had recorded ever imports of edible oils in 2017, with 50% growth reaching nearly $1 billion.
  • Uganda has a strong track in the production of agricultural products and is the most open trading country in the region.
  • 35% of Uganda’s land is arable and suitable for growing edible oil seeds. such as sesame, soya bean, and sunflower.

Strength of the Pharma sector in Uganda ;-

  • In 2018, there were over 300 life sciences companies and over 30 pharmaceuticals and medical devices manufacturing companies in Uganda {Source: fDi Benchmark from the Financial Times Limited).
  • These companies currently manufacture 173 pharmaceutical products in Uganda {Source: Uganda National Drug Authority).
  • Uganda is highly specialised in pharmaceuticals; the chemical sector (which includes pharmaceuticals) accounts for over 10% of Uganda’s manufacturing value added – the highest in the region.

    Medical Consumables
  • Medical consumables is a rapidly growing segment of Uganda’s healthcare sector. In 2017, the import of medical consumables in Uganda grew by over 60% compared to 6% growth in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
  • Total medical consumables imports into EAC are averaging over $250 million per annum with Uganda the fastest growing market.
  • There is strong investment potential to produce cotton-based consumables in Uganda including wadding, gauze, bandages and surgical cotton wool. Raw materials can be sourced

    locally given Uganda’s comparative advantage in cotton production.

  • There are also opportunities to manufacture medical supplies and instruments which have strong market.


Cipla logo

CIPLA India has established a WHO pre-qualified plant in Uganda producing ARVs, anti-malarials and anti-hepatitis medicines with purchase agreements with the Governments of Uganda and Zambia, In 2018, CIPLA Uganda raised US$ 43.8 million in a local IPO.


Alfasan of the Netherlands invested in Uganda via a joint venture with Farm Support, a Ugandan company, to produce vet and human drugs.