Africa Connected

Ugandan sector challenges make way for growth

Making her way through Kampala for Africa Connected, Nikiwe Bikitsha stopped by the offices of Stanbic Bank’s CE Patrick Mweheire.

Firmly established in the country since 2000, Stanbic Bank has retained the old Uganda Commercial Bank’s legacy of being ‘the people’s bank’ and has seen most of its profits coming from corporate banking.

Two decades ago, the Ugandan economy was known for its high single digit growth rate, but in 2013, that rate saw a significant drop. With a population growth rate of 3%, the current economic growth rate of 5% remains too low. To aid the eradication of poverty, the country should be growing at double the population growth rate.

Whilst the economy is facing its challenges, the investment climate remains an attractive one – with the government spending a significant amount of money on infrastructure to open up gateways to trade, allowing for movement of goods, and supporting export markets.

We’re probably the most liberal economy in the region... we have absolutely no capital controls.

Patrick Mweheire, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda

Touching on the issues impacting the economy, Mweheire believes that because of the lack of foreign exchange controls, US policy changes have made it more attractive for capital to leave Uganda as oppose to contributing to the economy. To address this, the government has made a decision to legislate, and monetise oil and gas with $15 billion of its $30 billion economy.

The government needs to figure out how much of that we’re going to be able to keep in the eco-system. If they can unlock that, we can get back to a high single digit growth.

Patrick Mweheire, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda

Looking at the sectors identified for sustainable long-term growth, logistics, agriculture and ICT comes out tops. With logistics set to mushroom in growth, agriculture - which employs over 70% of the country’s population - is not being taken advantage of. Blessed with 50% of the arable land in East Africa, Mweheire feels that the Uganda is only beginning to scratch the surface.

Uganda is blessed with having a fantastic climate but we fail to harness that opportunity.

Patrick Mweheire, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda

Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Nikiwe's full chat with Patrick Mweheire...

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