Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform Board meets to discuss response to COVID-19 impact on Uganda’s economy, promote green investments and decent employment.
The Board of the Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U) Platform at its second board meeting held on the 8th of December 2020 endorsed concrete actions responding to the COVID-19 negative consequences and advancing the Uganda-European Union Roadmap to Improved Investment Climate, in skills development, access to finance and anti-corruption.
“The EU is progressively upgrading efforts to encourage private companies operating in Uganda to invest green and create decent jobs, particularly for the youth and among them women. Today we launched a Work Readiness Programme that shall enable young graduates to be trained and employed by domestic as well European companies and a series of measures in e-procurement, digital services and corporate governance that shall reduce corruption in economic activities,” said EU Ambassador H.E Attilio Pacifici.
Ambassador Pacifici noted that additionally and given the exceptionally adverse situation for companies during COVID-19 19 pandemic, an innovative financial product to support the affected Tourism sector companies has been created jointly by Uganda Development Bank and the European Union because of the collaboration of the SB4U members. This financial product is expected to benefit about 200 companies in the short to medium term.
The Board of the SB4U Platform, co-chaired by EU Ambassador Pacifici and PSFU Chairman Hon. Elly Karuhanga, saw the participation of both Ugandan and European entrepreneurs, as well as of high-level officials from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
“ The SB4U platform will work as a collaboration tool that can be used in implementation of EU programs in Uganda. As Board members, we were entrusted to strengthen the Uganda-EU economic alliance and focus on how to overcome the different hurdles for investment and trade in Uganda” said Hon. Dr. Elly Karuhanga, Chairman Board PSFU”.
He added; “Equally important was the exploration of new areas of closer cooperation between the European and Ugandan business networks such as digitalisation, green energy and finance, smart agriculture, ecotourism and sustainable exploitation of natural resources.” He assured that PSFU had the mandate to bring EU companies closer to the Private Sector to enforce Uganda- EU bilateral relations to increase trade opportunities and NOT as a donor recipient.
Among other matters the board discussed matters of Trade and Investment and how best to ensure Uganda takes advantage of the opportunities presented by the European market. The EU presented to the meeting the EU SB4U engagement in supporting the tourism sector in collaboration with Uganda Development Bank. The programme will provide loans with attached grants
More specifically the loans with attached grants will:
- Provide affordable working capital funds (staff salaries, utility bills, rent, tax/VAT payments, fixed running costs, etc.) to the sector tailored to the specific needs of the business.
- To curtail, reverse and preserve the effects of Covid-19 on the socio-economic impact of the sector (sustaining jobs).
At the end of the meeting the EUD, the Government of Uganda together with the Private Sector Foundation and the Belgian development Agency, Enabel signed a financing agreement for the “Skills & Attitude and Governance & Anti-Corruption (SG+)” Project.
The SG+ general objective is: “To help make Uganda’s business environment more conducive to inclusive and green investments through increasing the supply of qualified workers, establishing private sector-led initiatives to fight corruption and strengthening the private public sector dialogue.”