Trade & Investment

One of the main objectives of the Ugandan North American Association is to promote the economic interests of the Ugandans in the Diaspora. During the last 3 consecutive UNAA Annual Conventions a whole day has been set aside for a Trade and Investments Forum. In addition to this day, the UNAA convention program makes time for other smaller business forum meetings to cater to the needs of Members who may have missed the full day event.

The main objective of this forum is to facilitate the exchange of information and create an enabling environment for trade and investment between Ugandan Diasporans, private businesses and government agencies in North America and their counterparts from Uganda. The forum makes available opportunities which Ugandan Diaspora Communities can seize and exploit. Participants in the Trade and Investment Forum usually have the unique opportunity to engage top government and company executives in a conference setting. These meetings have also provided opportunities for job placement. In the just concluded Convention in Denver, participating companies like Equity Bank, Tullow Oil held job and recruitment fairs at the convention.

Business sectors from North American and from Uganda represented always include financial services, manufacturing, tourism, coffee and tea, agriculture, construction, IT services, advanced education, commercial transportation, real estate development, commercial import/export services, and gifts and decorative accessories etc. Representatives from some of these companies are also looking for enterprising UNAA Members who have the wherewith all to form partnerships with needed specialized trade company in the United States. This partnership can then come to Uganda to fulfill contracts issued for such a specialized need.

UNAA is happy to report that as a direct result of one of these forums the American heavy

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equipment manufacturer "Caterpillar" entered into a partnership agreement with a company in Uganda and is now fully represented in the country. A number of other business deals have also been executed over the years. One recent business success Story that UNAA is proud to present is about Wiltec Engineering, a company owned by UNAA’s Immediate Past President, Engineer Moses R Wilson.
Read on his story in his own words………….
In the Trade and Investments Forum at the UNAA DC Convention, a significant amount of time was spent discussing the viability of establishing Internet Technology Centers (ITC's) in Uganda. It is interesting to note that 5 different ITC centers have since been started in Kampala although I cannot claim that each was started as a result of the UNAA Forum.

However, I am happy to confirm that at least one was started as a result of the forum at last year's UNAA convention and here is its story.

In keeping with the increasing challenges faced by many companies here in the US, the company I head (WILTEC) was also significantly adversely impacted by the ongoing global economic recession.

  • We literally found ourselves being overtaken by competitors who were outsourcing much of their work to countries like India, the Philippines and even Mexico.

  • Faced with the reality of dwindling contracts, it did not take long for a light bulb to go off in my mind. If this work could be outsourced to India, why not Uganda? The principle challenge here was internet access and upload/download speed.


I reached out to our UNAA partners in Uganda, such as the Uganda Investment Authority and others, and asked for some help. In particular, I was very happy to learn that 4G service was available and could be provided literally anywhere in greater Kampala.
  • To make a long story short, I entered into a contract with a company in Ggaba to which I shipped computers and other necessary equipment and last month was present when it officially began to provide services to my company. I am happy to report that yesterday my company issued payment for the very first invoice submitted to us for work done during the first two weeks of July. We have every expectation of issuing payment for invoices 2 or 3 times a month henceforth.

    The name of the company is SPANSOFT LINKS and is located in the Ggaba suburb of Kampala. The work they do for us will enable them to hire about 12 new employees. One of the really beautiful aspects of this relationship is that nothing being done for us requires travel into Kampala at all. Indeed, if the appropriate internet access could be guaranteed, the work would be done in Karamoja.

  • As a result of this venture, we have already realized benefits as we have since won 2 sizeable projects valued at over $50,000 of which we fully intend to outsource about 50% of the work to our partner in Uganda. We project outsourcing as much as $200,000 worth of work to this company in just the coming year with a target of at least $500,000 in 36 months.

We have also begun to market the services of this company to others and recently received interest from a company in Georgia which is looking for an outsourcing partner.

I am also happy to note that the banking transactions between our two companies are being handled by yet another long-time participant in the UNAA Trade and Investment Forums - DFCU Bank. I have found DFCU officials to be extremely responsive and accommodating and have every expectation of a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

So, for that very last person who still asks the ridiculous question, "What is UNAA other than an excuse for an annual weekend-long party," take note. Come to the convention and determine the work and value of this organization for yourself. Ours is but one success story (admittedly still in the works) out of many.

It is my hope to submit to you a success story about my fledgling entry into the world of staple foods (specifically maize) production, processing, storage and marketing in Uganda by next year's convention. Indeed, I have already visited with several companies that do precisely that here in Southern California in the hopes of attracting them as partners. I invite all of you to come to the UNAA convention in Philadelphia so that you can learn about the exciting opportunities in this sector. The Uganda Investment Authority is also going to make an extensive presentation on a variety of reasonable entry-cost ventures in Uganda.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you yourself cannot go back and take advantage of these opportunities, then maybe you have a relative or friend who can.

Sincerely,

Moses R. Wilson, PE
Immediate Past President - Ugandan North American Association
President - WILTEC, Pasadena, CA