OVER the years, I’ve picked up this highly useful fact from various successful Asian and Asian-Ugandan businessmen operating happily in Uganda: EVERY time there is a political or national event, they pay close attention to what the speech-makers are saying.
When it’s the President, they pay extra-special heed to the details of what he says and they thereafter follow up by making additional inquiries and investigations with the relevant offices.
One of them told me this as he was explaining why his father had invested in the first level of successful industry back in 1988, after two years of closely following this new NRM/A government all the way from London, in the United Kingdom. The young man himself was showing me round an investment project of his own that had built on his father’s success but fed off the plans the government kept announcing and dropping hints at.
That’s why, after last year’s End of Year address by the President to the Republic of Uganda, I wrote this – https://skaheru.com/2018/01/06/aligning-our-personal-objectives-with-our-national-ones/.
This week we listened to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni delivering another State of the Nation address – Uganda’s Chief Executive Officer’s report to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders.
I listened carefully to the event, paying attention to possible opportunities that even the smallest-scale businessman, entrepreneur or speculator could take advantage of and plan for.
They stand out quite well – paragraph by paragraph – #OpportunityUG – and just in case you haven’t read it or seen them, here are the ones I suspect might be useful:
“…we now have tarmac roads to almost all the corners of Uganda: Nimule; Oraba; Musingo; Vurra; Lwakhakha soon; Malaba; Busia; Busuunga, beyond Bundibugyo; Mpondwe; Mutukula; Muroongo on the Kagyera river; Mirama hill; Katuna; Cyanika and Bunagana. Radiating from Kampala, tarmac roads are now connecting all those points. The distance between Cyanika and Oraba is 1,048Kms (655miles), all of it connected by a tarmac road, from Kisoro district to Koboko…”
When a road is built with tarmac, the value of the land adjacent and in the towns that it connects tends to rise. If you check for the most recently built road you might find some land available either for sale or lease and snatch it up before its value rises.
Besides that, there are additional opportunities along such roads – such as establishing rest-stops, motels, shopping centres, fuel stations, and other enterprises that will take advantage of the increased traffic.
“farmers will use more irrigation. In the coming financial year, the Government will work on the following irrigation schemes using the government budget:
- Doho phase II in Butalejja district;
- Mubuku phase II in Kasese district;
- Wadelai in Nebbi district;
- Tochi in Oyam district;
- Ngenge in Oyam district;
- Atari (Bulambuli and Kween);
- Katete in Kanungu district;
- Kawumu in Luwero district;
- Amagoro (Tororo district);
- Nabigaga (Kamuli district);
- Rwimi (Kasese and Kabarole district);
- Nyimur (Lamwo);
- Musamya (Kayunga);
- Kibimba (Gomba);
- Kabuyanda (Isingiro);
- Matanda (Isingiro); and
- Igogero-Naigombwa (Iganga and Bugiri).
In order to roll-out a global irrigation system for the whole country, we are encouraging industrialists to set up assembly or manufacturing plants for solar-powered water pumps. Some of these pumps and water conveyance systems, will be used in government funded irrigation schemes. Others, however, will be used by the farmers at their own cost. I encourage all the capable farmers to, at their own cost, go into irrigation.“
We shouldn’t need the President himself to “encourage capable farmers” to go into irrigation. If you were planning to go into farming or agriculture, go and check where these irrigation projects are and set up your own project right there. Check what the application processes are and go for those!
But besides the irrigation project itself, check what elements go into the irrigation and solar-powered water pump manufacturing and see if you can supply or manufacture one of those components.
At the very least, if you don’t plan to invest, go and find a quick course to do in irrigation and solar-powered systems so that when these factories set up here you are marginally more marketable than the person next to you.
“With the building of our phosphate fertilizer plant in Tororo, Uganda, which at 2.5kgs per hectare has one of the lowest rates of fertilizer use, will now stir itself up to use more fertilizers. We are looking for an additional investor to blend the phosphates with nitrogen and potassium in order to formulate NPK (Nitrogen, phosphates and potassium). With the use of NPK, production will go up by 30%. With higher rates of agricultural growth, the overall rate of growth will go up.”
Fertilisers are going to be taken seriously next year? First of all, the factory in question is in Tororo – what will the logistics be like? Normally transport goes from Tororo to Kampala and then from there to the rest of the country – so how about investing in a route that goes from Tororo direct to Gulu via Lira and capturing all the farmers that side?
Also, there must be an opportunity in this fertiliser trade that you can explore by even studying mixes and becoming an expert or consultant in its application and use – therefore turning all the farmers seeking fertilisers into your direct clients while also taking on the Fertiliser Plant itself.
“I would like to single-out the sector of construction. This grew by 12.5% annually. This is not surprising given the respective efforts of the government and the private sector in the areas of road and houses construction.”
The construction sector is growing by 12.5% annually? What will happen this coming year? Can we go for something there as well? Even if it’s not investing in hardware, is there a component that we can replace with something cheaper and yet equally efficient? What about the real estate brokers dealing in this growing sector – can we find better methods and corner the market?
The opportunities in construction are myriad, as it were, mushrooming each day the way apartment blocks do. Think of gardening and landscaping, and interior decoration, and auxiliary products and services.
If you have no investment capital to set up something big, how about teaming up with some pals and forming a cleaning service targeting just one set of these apartment blocks that keep cropping up…? That list goes on and on and on.
“I told you how rich Ugandans and other Africans are, already. In the case of Uganda, we spend about US dollars 7 billion a year in terms of imports. Importing what? Importing the shoes, clothes, carpets, textiles, furniture units, pharmaceuticals, electronic equipments, perfumes, soaps, wines, cars, pikipikis (motorcycles), etc etc…“
We import so much? How about finding some of these items and their value, then picking up local ones and improving their quality even post-manufacture and then doing some import replacement?
That might now work for the perfumes, but even nonsense like second-hand clothing could provide an opportunity. A t-shirt with the Macdonalds logo on it could be spruced up with some kitenge bits to replace Maconalds and go for a neat margin well over and above the opened-bale price.
“4,525 girls have already been assisted to engage in: knitting, shoe-making, weaving, tailoring, bakery and embroidery, while 6 groups have been assisted in furniture-making and 10 in welding.“
Great opportunity there! Where are all these girls? Are they employed somewhere and each running their own business? If not, how about getting the list of the very best of them and investing in an outfit that will employ their services, skills and talents?
A handful of these girls could actually implement that little idea above of getting second-hand t-shirts and refitting them so they are fresh, Ugandan designs.
They even studied baking? If you take the marketing component and find a friend to handle packaging, you can be rolling in sweet money within a very short time of embarking on a project with these girls!
“In the coming days, the Minister of Finance will announce the financial support we intend to give to the groups that wish to join the manufacturing in the form of the enhanced micro-finance efforts and the Innovation in addition to the Women Fund, the Youth Fund and Operation Wealth Creation Fund.“
The ‘coming days’ that H.E. the President was referring to is the June 14 Reading of the National Budget.
If you don’t pay attention as THAT is being presented, and only focus on political statements (by yourself as well as by the politicians) please don’t blame anyone for your despondency thereafter.