Ascent Capital Africa announces USD100 fund to be invested in East Africa

By Alice Lubwama

Ascent capital Africa a private equity fund has announced a 100 million dollar fund to be invested in mid sized companies across east Africa region.

Addressing journalists in Kampala today the country director Ascent capital management Africa Richard Mugera said that out of this money at least 30 million dollars will be invested in companies in Uganda.

He adds that they are targeting SMES in manufacturing, education, health and Agro processing sectors wholesale and retail trade with proper book accounts to take up this opportunity.

He said that since 2014 they have invested in six companies in East Africa and increased employment by 12% in the region.

Mugera further says that 80% of the companies they have invested in are successful.

He said that they raised the funds from prominent investors such as Belgian Investment Company for developing countries, CDC group in the U.K, Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, the international finance corporation and the Norwegian investment fund.

Investors decry heavy taxes on construction materials

By Deo Wasswa

Some of Investors in the country say that  they have not done enough to make affordable housing schemes for locals and youth because of higher taxes being imposed on construction materials.

According to Rajiv Ruparelia, the Managing director crane management services, most of the building materials they use in the construction sector are imported and are heavily taxed.

”In order to reduce the cost of construction in Uganda, we need support from the government to subsidize on construction martial, he said. 

He said that as investors, they are willing to make affordable  housing schemes to ensure that locals, especially  youth be able to purchase houses and own assets, provided that the cost of construction are lowered.

Rajiv, made utterances at official opening  of a modern and multi billion warehouse connected with trading show room for large scale traders and office blocks  constructed on 5th street industrial area. The facility is sited at 1600 square meters

Two companies licensed to develop industries in three districts

By Wasswa Deo

Uganda Free Zones Authority has today handed over licenses to two companies to develop industrial zones in three districts including  Jinja, Masaka and Kalungu.

The companies include, Jinja based Nilus group limited and Uganda wood Impex limited based in Masaka and Kalungu.

Nilus  group limited will take on Tobacco leaf processing for export to Europe, middle East and Egypt while Uganda wood Impex limited will be dealing in timber processing and essential oils for export.

While handing over the licenses to directors of these two companies, Magret Banga, the board vice chairperson of Uganda Free Zones  Authority, said that this has been done in line with the government’s policy to market and promote investment in the manufacturing and processing sector in order to boost Uganda’s export.

During the event, the investors urged the government to prioritize those who invest significantly as this will encourage further investment and growth of country’s economy.

Nilus group limited will invest US $ 10.5 Million in this project due to start in August this year  and it is estimated that the project will offer 220 direct jobs and 1400 indirect jobs. Uganda Wood Impex Limited will be  investing US $1.2 million and hoping to employ about 60 people.



Uganda to invest Trillions on nuclear energy investment

The Ministry of Energy is pursuing an ambitious plan aimed at integrating nuclear plants to the country’s energy mix.

Under the plan, two units of base case scenario with installed capacity of 2000 Megawatts will be commissioned by 2031, a date agreed upon for the commissioning of the first unit of nuclear power under the Nuclear Power Roadmap Development Strategy adopted by cabinet on April 22, 2015.

The strategy identifies key infrastructure issues for nuclear power development and proposes mechanisms to address them. Uganda’s vision 2040 had envisioned to have 30,000 Megawatts of nuclear power by 2026.

The development follows a contract signed between government and AF-Consult Switzerland in 2014 to study the integration of nuclear power plants into generation capacity plan 2015-2040.  The consultant said Uganda would need to invest USD 26 billion to have an installed capacity of 4,300 Megawatts of power from nuclear energy by 2040.

AF-Consult Switzerland estimates that Uganda would spend 744.8 trillion Shillings in capital and operating costs if it is to generate 30,000 Megawatts from nuclear as outlined in the Uganda Vision 2040.

Despite this aggressive plan, some fear that the multi-billion dollar power plant construction is likely to be very costly for the country while other are questioning whether Uganda will have gained capacity to avoid radioactive leakages and its harmful effects on health.

An engineer who previously worked with the Ministry of Energy but asked for anonymity told Uganda Radio Network that the cost could be much higher going by trends in Nuclear power generation costs.

Harold Acemah, a retired career diplomat recently said nuclear power was likely to be a very expensive venture which will cost Uganda trillions of Shillings to build and maintain. Acemah also raised questions around safety of nuclear technology against the background of disastrous accidents which occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine, and more recently in Japan.

The consultant advised Uganda to utilize international suppliers of nuclear fuel and their nuclear fuel cycle services as the most cost effective approach for the first nuclear power project.

The government is however determined to proceed with its nuclear energy plans guided by AF-Consult Switzerland. Uganda expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with Russia in June on the development of nuclear power.

A survey of potential sites for nuclear power development was conducted by the Siting Working Group (SWG) comprising of experts from different Ministries and Departments. The results of the survey recommended areas around the Kyoga, Katonga and Aswa regions as the most suitable potential sites for nuclear stations and substations.

James Banabe Isingoma, the Energy Ministry’s Director for Energy Resources Management said areas Buyende district’s Kyankole hill in Kidera, Naluntuntu in Mubende and areas in Aswa were very suitable.

The Ministry has since concluded that the 2031 base case scenario of commissioning the first Nuclear Power Plant is a more feasible milestone.  According to the Nuclear Power Development Plan, the ministry plans to have a national nuclear energy policy developed between this year and 2022.

There is also a plan to strengthen the regulators framework with construction of nuclear plant expected to takeoff around 2023.

The Ministry of Energy plans to have an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission by 2018. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) covers the comprehensive infrastructure required for building a nuclear power programme.

The review mission is conducted by a team of international experts from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine 19 infrastructural issues to be considered during the different stages of developing a nuclear power programme.

At the end of January, the Ministry of Energy’s under Secretary, Prisca Boonabantu placed an advertisement for firms or individual to review the legal and institutional framework. The Atomic Energy Act 2008 was passed to regulate the use of ionizing radiation and provide a framework to develop nuclear power generation.


The Nuclear Energy Unit at the Ministry of Energy according to sources is in critical need of personnel with specialized training in power-related field. Sources indicate that the unit has only seven members of staff who have undertaken specialized training in nuclear power related field. The seven according to the source is still inadequate to effectively implement Nuclear Energy Unit’s mandate.

The other challenge relates to financing. Uganda, like Tanzania is focusing on nuclear because it is perceived as future option for generating low carbon electricity. Specific intrinsic risks lay with the construction risk profile and technology risks during construction. Electricity generation is a highly capital-intensive activity with significant upfront costs.

Other studies have found that Nuclear power plants feature the highest overnight cost, the largest capacity, operate for very long periods of time (60 years) and take longer to build than other power plant generation technologies.

But funding to Nuclear is more challenging than other power generation. The Nuclear Power Development Plan remains silent about likely source of funding.

The a source at Ministry of foreign Affairs told URN that the government is looking toward countries with developed capacities like China, Russia and Iran among others for funding.

A delegation from Ministry of Energy lead by the under Secretary, Prisca Boonabantu was at the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) China and at the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center in Beijing at the beginning of this month partly seeking support for nuclear energy.

In mid-April, State Minister for Energy, Simon D’ujanga signed a memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation officials in Kampala. They agreed to cooperate in the peaceful application of atomic energy in the fields of energy, medicine, agriculture, education and research.

Alexander Polyokov signed the memorandum on behalf of the Russian State Corporation ROSATOM delegation. In October 2016, a delegation from Rosatom, led by Viktor Polikarpov, the company’s regional vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, visited Uganda and held talks with President Yoweri Museveni over the nuclear energy prospects.

The Russians according to sources could easily get the multi-million dollar Uganda nuclear dealing that could involves supplying the technology for nuclear plants and nuclear fuel among others. Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has been promoting Russian nuclear technologies at Russian embassies.

Officials at Energy Ministry and government are yet to meet to decide on the possibility of the power plants being constructed on build-own-operate (BOO) or other funding mechanism.





Japanese ambassador promises more investment

By Robert segawa

The Japanese ambassador to Uganda Utaka Nakamura has promised to continue luring Japanese businessman to invest in Uganda.

Nakamura made the remarks while officially launching the fast Dunlop tyre zonal store in Uganda at Moil petrol station Banda along Kampala Jinja road.

The Japanese ambassador also expressed optimism that the Kampala fly over construction project which will involve construction of fly overs at Kitgum house, and clock towers which kicks off in 2019 will solve the traffic jam puzzle in Kampala city.

On his part Mr Anish Malatri the managing director of tyre express company which supplies the Dunlop and Falken tyre brands said this is going to be one of the leading tyre service centres in Uganda and assured Ugandan motorists of increased safety on the road.