ACHOLI – A group of Indian investors are in search for potential investment opportunities in Acholi sub region.
In December 2021, a delegation representing a group of more than 2000 investors in New Delhi, India visited Gulu City to meet leaders from the sub region.
Acholi sub-region is gifted with fertile land and requires technological investments to meet its commercial agriculture potential.
Agriculture is a key potential area that the investors talked about at the meeting that took place at Gulu City yard.
Jignesh Panchal, the head of the delegation comprising of small and medium enterprise owners in India says, they are interested in understanding the available investment opportunities in the region; ranging from agriculture, value addition, education, machineries among others in a sub-region that is steadily recovering from the impact of a 2-decade war.
“Our major reason for visiting this area is to understand the available investment opportunities given the rich and available fertile land in the region,” Panchal says.
Sunil Kumar Tada, an Indian investor based in Gulu City says there are huge investment opportunities including education, health, hospitality among others that are yet to be properly tapped into in Gulu City and the region.
“Currently, hundreds of parents take their children and relatives to learn and receive treatment from Central Uganda, mainly Kampala because there is still a huge gap in the two sectors to be filled in the sub region,” Kumar cites.
The delegation that held a meeting with Gulu City officials at the Gulu City yard is also expected to meet President Museveni on the 8th of December this year.
Moses Otimong, the Acting Gulu City Town Clerk says, Gulu’s strategic positioning to the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan makes it even a better investment location in the region, given its available market.
According to Otimong, many of the local investors in the region are doing low scale business probably due to limited knowledge and financial might.
“If we can have such investors coming into the region to partner with our local investors here; we could see an exponential growth in businesses especially in the agricultural sector which seemingly is lagging behind due to limited knowledge, exposure and finances compared to other parts of the country,” Otimong noted.
Samuel Oduny, the City Councilor representing the elderly persons says, with the current stability in government and assured security, investors can easily be swayed into investing even in the most rural environments of the region.
Simon Wokorach, the Member of Parliament for Aswa County in Gulu District says, whereas investors are continuing to hunt for investment opportunities in Acholi sub-region, local leaders should ensure that the land acquisition protocol is observed so that the communities are not cheated of their land as has been the case in the past.
Recently, Ker Kwaro Acholi (KKA), the Acholi cultural institution and the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) tasked all the district councils in Acholi sub-region to pass out by-laws regulating land acquisition.
Several investors have tried to access land in the sub-region but faced stiff rejection from the community and local leaders on their approach to acquiring land.
The Madhvani Sugar Project in Lakang, Amuru district is among the investors whose projects dragged on for close to a decade before government finally took over the land.
Wokorach says, such past scenarios have also played a role in discouraging investors from coming to the sub-region.
“If we follow the right procedures, local leaders will not have any problems with the investors because they will be bringing money to our community members,” said Wokorach.
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