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Uganda to Co-Host the 8th COMESA Business Forum 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Mr. Gerald Ssendaula - Chairman PSFU

Esteemed Partners in Business,

On behalf of the entire Business Community in Uganda and the Board of Directors of Private Sector Foundation Uganda; I would like to welcome our Regional and International delegates to the 8th COMESA Business Forum 2012.

In a special way i would like to welcome those delegates who will be visiting Uganda for the first time. I hope the Business Forum will prove productive and that your visit to Uganda will be a memorable one. We are expecting a total of 900 participants to attend the forum.

I would like to thank the COMESA Secretariat for granting the Government of Uganda the opportunity to host the 16th COMESA Heads of States’ Summit.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) which is also the focal point for the COMESA Business Council in Uganda; is Uganda’s apex body for the private sector. It is made up of 166 business associations, corporate bodies and the major public sector agencies that support private sector growth. Since its founding in 1995, PSFU has served as a focal point for private sector advocacy as well as capacity building and continues to sustain a positive dialogue with Government on behalf of the private sector.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is very pleased to co-host the 8th Business Forum with the COMESA Business Council. The Focus of the Business Forum will be on; “Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Seizing opportunities for Innovation and Prosperity in Business.”

The Forum comes at a critical time when Africa has to focus on the development of Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) for economic growth. SMEs play a key role in developing countries as they account for more than 90% of all firms outside the agricultural sector, they also constitute a major source of employment and generate significant domestic and export earnings. Consequently, SME development emerges as a crucial tool in poverty reduction efforts.

A number of programs addressing African Development have identified Private Sector development, and in particular SME development as a priority area for action. That said; the SME sector in Africa is still facing a number of challenges which are hindering it from making healthy contributions to the economic growth of various African nations.

Interestingly; all the large corporations in Africa today, sprung from SMEs (have an SME background); this should motivate all the SMEs out there to be competitive and productive so as to take advantage of the trade and investment opportunities. Clustering (mass production), local content, capacity building, commitment and willingness by SMEs to invest in skills and technology training are good strategies that should be employed for SME development in Africa.

The 8th COMESA Business Forum is very timely as it will present a unique opportunity to the business community in Africa; to examine the challenges they face and therefore identify solutions. The program for the 3 day meeting will cover a wide range of issues mainly; Intra-Africa Trade, Africa’s Business Landscape, Going Green, the Euro-Zone Crisis, SMEs and Competitiveness, Agriculture and Food Security, Financial Markets, Infrastructure Development, Innovation for Wealth, Tourism and Business, Youth and Enterprise Development, Gender and Business as well as an open debate on Public, Private Dialogue. I am confident that each participant will be able to take back a whole new wealth of ideas to their respective businesses; so as to strengthen them.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform the entire Business Community throughout the 19 member states of the COMESA; that the Business Forum will have parallel activities i.e. the Regional Trade Fair/Exhibition, the COMESA Business Bazaar (it will be SME oriented) the Gala Night dinner as well as the Business tours. I therefore urge the Private Sector/ delegates to participate and exploit these activities and network for business promotion.

Finally; let me take this opportunity to remind you that Uganda is the Pearl of Africa and therefore I implore you to spare a small part of your precious time (during your stay) to go and enjoy the beauty of Uganda, the precious food and the warm hospitality of its people. Our tour companies will avail attractive packages which will give all delegates the opportunity to visit some of the most exciting tourist attractions in East Africa.

Hoping to see you soon!



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