Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) took center stage in deliberations at the 5th edition of the Economic Mkutano under the theme “Unlocking the Green Economic Zone Opportunity for the Private Sector”. Emphasis was placed on delivering practical guidance and getting consensus on key areas including: Technical and financing considerations for the private sector vis-à-vis green Economic Zones, Investment opportunities for the private sector and Financial instruments to de-risk projects among others.
In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by the public and private investment into economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency and prevention loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Going green makes the economy more resourceful and socially inclusive to expand opportunities for all. Government has already put emphasis on sustainable industrialization to drive value-addition and export volumes. Sustainability is one of the key areas of emphasis to investors in the Economic Zones.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Hez Kimoomi Alinda pointed out the need to also entrench the discussion into the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector, because of their capacity to emit carbon. He added that the Authority was ensuring that anyone licensed to invest or work in a Special Economic Zone respects the greening agenda.
Alinda remarked that small scale manufacturers could now take advantage of the Special Economic Zones to increase their volumes for export, especially to the Continent under the African Continental free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). “The most important thing for the population is to produce but as they produce, there has to be market in the industrial spaces because this is where the value addition takes place. We are, therefore, part of this conversation because we are looking at creating green Zones in promoting manufacturing, creating jobs and backward linkages’ he said.
David Bikhado Ofungi, the curator of the Economic Mkutano said this year’s theme was deliberately chosen given that the entire world economy is being driven to that direction. He said, Uganda’s emerging green economy presents exciting opportunities for the private sector to invest in sustainable growth. Green Economic Zones offer private sector investors a unique opportunity to invest in sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, eco- tourism and sustainable industrial practices.