KAMPALA – Several African governments including Ugandan authorities have for long rallied African Americans and African scholars and business owners to refresh their memory on their remote by investing home.
In Uganda, President Museveni who is known for supporting the same, at a recent address said the country’s economy will grow in double digits in the near future when all its ongoing infrastructure projects are completed.
He cited the incentives being offered by Uganda, Africa’s biggest coffee exporter, including zero taxation of the materials used in manufacturing and a non-bureaucratic investment approval regime.
The president said opportunities for investment in Uganda include grain milling for the manufacture of livestock feeds, food processing, textile manufacture, vehicle assembly and manufacture, and herbal pharmacy.
Other African authorities have also promised massive incentives including tax holidays among other benefits in the quest to aid economic development in Africa.
Mr. Isaac Kigozi, the Managing Director, East African Partners (EAP) who stayed in the USA for more than 20 years says that apart from the fact that Afro-Americans have their roots in Africa, he also believes that it is time for them to consider coming back home and focus on rebuilding their home.
He believes the best time to invest in Africa is now – citing enormous investment opportunities in Uganda and the East African region block which range from Oil and Gas, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Tourism, Education, Health, Transportation, Agriculture, Technology, among others.
According to a UN report, six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are African. But it seems African American businessmen and entrepreneurs missed the memo and now the race is on to make sure they have a place at the table before all the major seats are taken. PML Daily spoke with a number of top African American entrepreneurs-with unique insight on key issues and how they can engage.
Mr. Adrian Ross, former Lineback Position player at Cincinnati Bengals club, a professional American Football franchise and current founder of the Maddbacker Foundation says now is a good time to invest in Africa because of bountiful returns to be made.
“There is never been a better time than now! Now, because not only is there a need but there is a number willing able and looking to invest intangible investments. There are a number of athletes and entertainers looking to invest outside the U.S particularly in Africa,” he said.
“My expectations of Africa are now just like everywhere else in the world! Whereas before the information we received about Africa and opportunities were false! Now, with technology we are able to research and see the true vast opportunities available,” he said noting that the opportunities of Africa will be beyond any thinkable expectations imaginable.
A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development states that between 2006 and 2011, Africa had the highest rate of return on inflows of Foreign Direct Investment: 11.4%. This is compared to 9.1% in Asia, 8.9% in Latin America and the Caribbean. The global figure is 7.1%.
Illinois State Senator, Dr. David Miller who spoke to this website via phone said the social unrest and protest in America and across the world have prompted a new intergenerational view of citizenship and awareness of Africans global presence, attributes, and faults.
“I believe it is time for people of all races, generations, and backgrounds to examine how we can increase our partnership across the world to have a better understanding of challenges other counties face and how they respond – this includes Africa and its many countries. Technology and social media allow us to virtually “visit” Africa but falls short of actual visits and witnessing potential mutually beneficial opportunities and solutions.”
Mr. Millers added: “These economic and business opportunities and can be explored along with social issues of inclusion that America has incorporated in our society.”
“Absolutely this is timely! With the current civil unrest in the US, this is certainly a timely call to action for African Americans to consider returning home. My personal response to this call is to welcome this invitation and to explore the opportunities being offered in Uganda, said Bambi Montgomery, the owner Perfumer- HIVE Luxury and HIVE Los Cabos Hotel in Mexico who expect the support of the government and other business owners as she explores the business opportunities in the East African nation.
“As an African American, I feel robbed of my history, culture, language, and religion and was taught by white people to fear Africans. African Americans believe that Africans hate African Americans and that we should not trust you. We must dispel this teaching as I have learned from the warmth and love of my dear friend Isaac and several other African friends that this is just not true. It is a divisive lie to further disconnect us from our home and people. With the lack of knowledge of our roots, we are witnessing and participating in the largest movement in US history with Black Lives Matter. Our youth are so lost and disconnect. Slavery has indeed had a lasting effect on African Americans and this movement is our cry for change but change will only be seen by learning the full scope of our history and it starts with where we come from…the motherland of Africa”.
Michelle Curry, the founder of the Travel Africa Movement, an online community and travel company created to encourage more Black Americans to travel to Africa and to consider it for investment and moving opportunities particularly pointed Uganda as a case study for the campaign, describing it as a beautiful country with diverse tourist attractions, a thriving nightlife, and friendly people.
“I think this is a timely call and we fully support the mission. Uganda is uniquely poised to be a big player on the Black tourism scene. It’s a beautiful country with diverse tourist attractions, a thriving nightlife, and friendly people.”
Asked on the expectations in Africa; Michelle said: “I’ve been to many African countries. I encourage Black Americans and Diasporas not to romanticize Africa. It is beautiful and enchanting, but it also has some challenges. I would like to see us work together to develop the continent and make it a better place for all. As for expectations, I want to be treated fairly, to receive good value for my dollars, and to connect with the people, culture, food, and history of places I visit”.
With a population of 40 million, Uganda has one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.
Uganda’s economy, driven by strong private consumption, has constantly grown and now boasts a gross domestic product of US$25 billion.
Factors speaking for Uganda as an investment destination include a growing population, low inflation, and big projects including seven new cities, irrigation projects, a high-tech city, new airports, and training centers.
Commenting on the same, Cook County Commissioner, Donna Miller, and former Chief campaign Mobilizer to Hillary Clinton in Chicago said, “It is definitely an interesting time to think about the return to Africa.
He said whereas many African Americans have no direct relationship with which country they came from on the continent, they are yearning and desire to be connected to Africa.
“The call now to return is even more important in light of current events that consistently happen in the United States specifically related to police brutality, unfair treatment in the workplace, voter suppression, and the constant stigma that being black carries in this country. I do feel it’s worth consideration, especially for those who have a business and entrepreneurial goals,” Millers wrote.
Big Al Sams Bio, Radio Presenter at iHeart Radio said there has always been a push to connect African-Americans with connecting to the motherland. “With all that is happening in America right now, specifically involving African-Americans, as well as an overall mainstream consciousness that is settling over the country about not only being black in America as well as the connection to Africa, the time is right for the call to be heard.”
Alvin “Big Al” Sams, who has been hosting on radio and presenting on TV for over 20 years in media organizations such as iHeartRadio, CBS Television, and Tribune Broadcasting expects Africa to be welcoming.
“I expect Africa to be inclusive of the fact that although I am African-American, I can be treated as a brother, more than a visitor. I am hopeful to see the beauty of Africa, as well as the realities of life in Africa. Not just how people live, but how they handle themselves economically, finance, sports, government structure, tourism, music, food, what the young people are doing. I expect to see African culture at work in real-time.”
Shon Kyle the founder of Faith Forward Ministries said the hatred for other cultures, particularly African American is heating up and business owners struggle to secure funding for startups due to racism.
Between, 2018 and 2023, Africa’s growth prospects will be among the highest in the world, according to the IMF.
Good news: sectors where foreign companies could have a comparative advantage, such as banking, telecommunications, and infrastructure, are among the drivers of current economic growth in Africa—creating clear investment opportunities for foreign businesses.