The Somali business community in East Africa is looking to explore trade opportunities at the first-ever business summit between the two countries in Kampala.
Corporates and the business community from the region will be showcasing their products and services in the Ugandan capital between August 9-10 at the Uganda-Somalia Investment and Business summit.
The theme is “Promoting Uganda-Somalia Partnership through Investment, Trade, and Tourism”.
Somalia’s newly elected president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will attend the summit which is expected to provide a platform for the private sector business community together with other relevant stakeholders like government ministries, departments, and agencies to freely exchange views and ideas on how to ease the cost of doing business between the two countries.
One of the key participants at the summit will be Africa’s leading money transfer company Dahabshiil which has a presence in Uganda offering remittances services to boost the economy.
Uganda is ranked among the top 10 recipient countries of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dahabshiil is involved in several projects in the country, one of which has provided seed capital to innovative start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs in the region.
“This business summit between governments and business communities is vital because it not only opens up opportunities for business people to interact but also gives us a chance to understand the challenges our people in this region face,” said Dahabshiil Chief Executive Officer, Abdirashid Duale.
Duale said that while Dahabshiil already operates in Uganda there are plenty of opportunities for the company to expand its presence there and for other small and large business institutions to engage with the country.
He said it is important to raise awareness of investment, trade, and tourism opportunities between the countries and address non-tariff barriers hindering trade and investment.
Other companies, including one of the largest Somali telecom and internet providers, Somtel, e-Dahab mobile payments and Dahabshil Bank, are attending.
They are holding bi-laterals with other Uganda-based institutions to increase cooperation and partnerships between the two nations, as well as creating jobs.
One of the key participants at the event is the tycoon Amina Hersi who like Mr Duale is one of the most successful business leaders in the region. She is based in Uganda and has roots in Kenya, Somaliland and Somalia. She has established a myriad of flourishing businesses in Uganda including the Atiak sugar factory.
The Horn of Africa is suffering devasting drought and food insecurity and there are opportunities to learn from Ugandan coping mechanisms. The role of the private sector across the region is more vital than ever because of its involvement in alleviating these problems especially through public-private partnerships.