Talking Business: Investing in Uganda

Fatma Abubakar, country manager of DHL Express Uganda

Fatma Abubakar, country manager of DHL Express Uganda

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Fatma Abubakar, country manager of DHL Express, shares her thoughts on doing business in Uganda.

Discuss some of the business trends you are seeing in Uganda.

The Government in its 2015 Budget reading listed facilitation of private sector enterprise development, effective expansion and maintenance of infrastructure and enhanced efficiency in government management, as some of the strategic areas to be focused on.

SMEs are the engine for growth in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Providing these SMEs with access to the global market is key, as small businesses that trade internationally are twice as successful as those that trade only within their own market.

Some foreign investors still believe it is very difficult to invest here. However, this is not true because Uganda is open for business and provides attractive incentives for medium and long-term foreign investors. The government encourages foreign businesses to set up operations, particularly in value-added manufacturing and agro-processing.

Describe some of the challenges investors can expect to encounter.

The major challenge in Uganda is under developed infrastructure and high fuel costs which impact businesses in the form of steep transport costs. The commitment made by East African governments, and specifically the Uganda government, to prioritise infrastructure development is important to developing connectivity and promoting trade between various regions.

Potential instability in South Sudan could also be a risk for the Ugandan economy because South Sudan is an important export destination for Ugandan products.

Which local business person do you admire?

Daniel and Jalia Mukisa, two young local business people who own African Style Art. The company began operations in 2010, and they are currently experiencing steady growth as a result of tapping into global opportunities. They specialise in handmade jewellery and have partnered with DHL Express Uganda to deliver their products to customers in the US.

How do you see the business environment and economy change over the coming years?

Both will definitely change for the better. Uganda is a stable country and we are blessed with a favourable climate and abundant available land. It has attracted investors involved in the manufacturing of dairy products, as well as breweries and beverages.

Name one tourist attraction business people shouldn’t miss when visiting Uganda.

You cannot afford to miss seeing the source of the River Nile located in Jinja. An amazing experience!

[box type=”note”]Meet Fatma Abubakar

By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk? I’m always in the office by 6:45am, not necessarily at my desk, but meeting my couriers before they leave the office, or accompanying one of them on a courier ride.

How do you relax? I enjoy my morning walks with my husband. We also jog and watch Tom and Jerry cartoons with my seven year old daughter. A good massage once a week, and a Sunday afternoon nap does it all for me.

Best book you’ve ever read? One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Top holiday destination? Mauritius

Favourite quote? “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn[/box]