US dangles Shs220b for value addition in Uganda


Kampala-The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is investing $58m (Shs220b) in Uganda’s economythrough lending financial capital to private companies to promote value addition and increase their operational scope.

Mr Ray W. Washburne, the president and chief executive officer OPIC, said they are targeting logistics, transportation, telecommunications, internet connectivity and value chain projects in sectors such as agriculture across the country.

“In Uganda, the projects we look at range from agriculture to power and tourism. We also deal in hotels, and our primary objective is to help to multiply the jobs in the supply chain and logistics,” Mr Washburne said on Friday.

He explained that the money would be borrowed to exclusively private companies at an interest rate of about 5 per cent.

“Yesterday, we signed a contract with Africell [a local telecommunication company] that is going to be in four countries in this region and we have put Shs130m in this……so Africell as a private company will work with other private companies. We shall strengthen that product and help women in a big way,” he added.

The US Ambassador to Uganda, Ms Deborah Malac, said other than the Africell agreement, there is no other specific partnership agreement that the agency has so far reached with any of the local private companies.

Africwell’s role
“The Africell deal is finally signed in Uganda and three other countries [in Africa].

He (Washburne) is here to find partnerships with other companies who have projects which OPIC can lend money to help their projects move forward .So there is no specific one at this moment,” Ms Malac said.
As the US Government’s development finance institution, OPIC has a long history of mobilising private investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region which today accounts for one-quarter of the agency’s $23 billion global portfolio.

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