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Bilateral Relations  

India-Uganda Relation

Political Relations

India established its diplomatic presence in Uganda in 1965, even though relationship between both countries dates back to the era when traders exchanged goods in dhows across the Indian Ocean. Eventually a number of Indians settled in East Africa, and many made Uganda their home. India’s freedom struggle inspired the early Ugandan activists to fight colonization and eventually achieved freedom in 1962.

During the reign of President Amin in early 70’s, nearly 60,000 Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Indians were expelled from Uganda. However, with coming to power of the current President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 1986, the anti-Indian policies were reversed. Several progressive steps like restoring properties seized from PIOs ensured that the bilateral relations were normalized. The relations have since prospered.

High-Level Visits

From India

The then Prime Minister visited Uganda in 1997. During his visit, he met the President of Uganda and also unveiled the Mahatma Gandhi bust at the Source of River Nile in Jinja where some of the Gandhi’s ashes were immersed. The then Prime Minister visited Uganda in 2007 to attend the 20th Commonwealth Meeting of Heads of Government.  Vice-President visited Uganda on a transit visit in July 2011.  A parliamentary delegation led by Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar attended the 126th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union in April, 2012.  Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, visited Kampala to chair the 22nd Executive Committee Meeting of Partners in Population Development (PPD). The then Hon’ble EAM accompanied by a high level delegation visited Kampala in April 2013 for bilateral meetings and to chair the Regional HoMs’ Conference of sub-Saharan African countries. Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Sudarshan Bhagat visited Uganda in July 2015 as PM’s Special Envoy to extend invitation to the President and the Foreign Minister of Uganda for IAFS-III. The Vice-President of India visited Uganda from 21-23 February 2017.  During his stay in Uganda, the Vice-President called on the President of Uganda and had meetings with Vice-President of Uganda and Speaker of Ugandan Parliament.  He also addressed the business event coordinated by Private Sector Foundation of Uganda and the High Commission of India.  He also visited Jinja and paid floral tribute, at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi.  He also met the Indian community at a reception hosted by the High Commissioner.

From Uganda

Ugandan President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni visited India twice on State Visit (October 1992 and April 2008), and once officially in October 2015 to attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. He has visited India four times in a private capacity.

The Ugandan Foreign Minister Hon’ble Sam Kutesa visited India in July 2014 as the President-elect of the 69th UNGA, and was the first African Foreign Minister to be received by Hon’ble Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister after the new government took over in May 2014.

Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda led a 13-member delegation to New Delhi to attend the 7th Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament held in New Delhi from 3-4 October 2012. The Vice President of Uganda visited India to attend the 9th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave held in New Delhi from March 17-19, 2013.

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Uganda visited India to participate in the 12th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership held in New Delhi from 9-10 March 2017 where Uganda was a guest country. During the visit, the Prime Minister of Uganda also called on the President and the Vice-President of India. He also met the Prime Minister of India.

In addition to the above visits, there have been several exchanges by Ministers, MPs and high ranking officers from both sides.

Bilateral Cooperation & Assistance

India’s engagement with Uganda is at three levels viz. at the African Union (AU) level, at level of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and at the bilateral level.

India’s engagement with Uganda has been consultative, response-based and focused on developing Ugandan capacities and human capital. Indian assistance to Uganda has been guided mainly by the announcements made by India at the India-Africa Forum Summits in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

Following the first India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-I) in 2008, Uganda was nominated by the AU to host the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), one of the 5 institutes offered by India at the Pan-Africa level. The institute will impart world-class training in International Business and Management, develop entrepreneurial skills and promote research in foreign trade. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is the Indian implementing agency for the IAIFT.

At the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II) in 2011, a Food-Processing Business Incubation Centre was offered to be set-up in Uganda. The centre will provide support to the local entrepreneurs by enhancing their skills in food processing and acquaint them with latest technology and equipment used in the industry. This would lead to creation of additional jobs for the rural youth. Modalities for setting up the centre are being worked out by the implementing agencies i.e. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad and National Agricultural Research Laboratories, Kawanda.

At IAFS-II, India also offered, among other things, eight Material Testing Laboratories for Highways (MTLH), one each for the 8 RECs. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) decided to locate one MTLH in Uganda. The laboratory will significantly contribute to road development within the region by providing for material testing facilities for soil, aggregates, bitumen and cement concrete material for the road sector.  The Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) which is the implementing agency for MTLH will also undertake related training courses for the local engineers to ensure that the facility continues to run smoothly and independently.  

In addition to the above three institutions, a tele-medicine centre and a tele-education centre have been set up under the Pan-African E-Network Project. A tele-medicine centre has been set up in Mulago Hospital where several diagnostic equipment, such as ECG, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc., have also been set up as part of the project. The Centre is connected to 11 reputed Indian hospitals to ensure world-class medical consultation and treatment for patients and medical education for students. A tele-education centre has been set up at Makerere University. These initiatives help Ugandans access medical care and education from India at a fraction of cost. These centres were inaugurated in August, 2010 by Foreign Ministers of both the countries.

Scholarships and capacity-building training programmes

India is seen as a destination for quality and affordable education by Ugandans. The Government of India offers scholarships and fellowships to Ugandans from the Government and private sector to enable them to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and research courses in India. Training courses in highly specialised areas are also conducted for officers of public institutions.

Under ITEC/SCAAP, 150 slots were allotted to Uganda for 2016-17. Till date more than 120 slots have been utilized. Apart from these, 28 Ugandan nationals have travelled to India various short-term capacity building programmes under India-Africa Forum Summit mechanism during 2016-17. Another 22 candidates travelled to India during 2016-17 to avail the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships in various under-graduate, post-graduate and research disciplines.

In addition to these training programs, India also conducts training courses for Uganda’s defence personnel. A Brigadier from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has availed of a seat for the 57th NDC Course at the prestigious National Defence College, New Delhi. Another officer from the UPDF has travelled to India during 2016-17 to attend the DSSC-72 Army Training Course at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India.

An Indian Army Training Team led by a Brigadier and consisting of two Colonels and one Group Captain is stationed at the Ugandan Army's Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka since February 2010 to assist in the training of the senior officers of the Ugandan armed forces.

An estimated 1000 Ugandan students are presently studying in Indian universities. Over the years, thousands of Ugandans have studied in Indian colleges and universities, especially in Pune, Bangalore and Delhi. These include many Ugandan Ministers and high-ranking Government officials. An APTECH franchise and ISBAT University in Kampala have brought Indian education even closer to Ugandans. Indian experts regularly teach at the leading Universities in Uganda.

Commercial Relations

Trade and Investment
Annual Bilateral Trade Statistics

(Value in US $ Million)

YearExports from India to UgandaImports from Uganda to India
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of IndiaBank of UgandaMinistry of Commerce, Govt. of IndiaBank of Uganda
2014539.181243.8337.2823.53
2015568.53994.9337.2022.59
2016524.02677.8368.2243.00

Although the Balance of Trade is heavily in favour of India, India encourages higher Ugandan exports to India. The major items of Indian exports to Uganda include pharmaceutical products, vehicles, nuclear reactors, plastic, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals. The major commodities of imports from Uganda to India are edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers, coffee, tea, mate and spices, wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal, cotton, essential oils, cocoa and cocoa preparation etc. Numerous engagements between the private sectors in India and Uganda have deepened the involvement of Indian private sector companies in Uganda's economy.

In 2016, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) awarded the High Commission of India as the Best Diplomatic Mission in Uganda for promoting investment from India. Indian companies had the most number of licensed projects in Uganda between 1991 and 2015.

A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Uganda is in effect since 2004.

Commercial visits/events

Uganda International Medical & Lab (UIML) Expo held in the month of February, 2016 in Kampala, Uganda organized by Nexgen Exhibitors had ASSOCHAM as the co-organizers.

A Buyer–Seller Meet (BSM) by Engineering Export Promotion council (EEPC) was organized in Uganda in the month of March 2016 to enhance trade between India and the countries of the East African region. A delegation comprising of 18 Indian Engineering Companies participated in the BSM.

A delegation from Solvent Extractors association of India visited Uganda in July 2016 and had a BSM with the relevant producers, growers, farmers, etc.

CHEMEXCIL - an export promotion Council of Chemicals, formed by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, organized BSM on Dyes and Pigments, Organic and Inorganic Chemicals including  Agro Chemicals, Cosmetics and Toiletries in August 2016 where 27 Indian companies had a chance to interact with more than 30 prominent exporters/manufacturers of the above products.

A delegation from 10 Companies hosted by Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) participated in the 24th Uganda International Trade Expo held in the month of October 2016 in Kampala, Uganda.

A Delegation from leather Sector of India visited Uganda in the month of November 2016 to explore investment and Trade opportunities in the sector. 

Indian diaspora

The Indian community presents the strongest and most durable economic and cultural links with Uganda. Presently, there are over 26,000 Indians/PIOs living in Uganda, of which majority are Indian passport holders, while the remaining hold Ugandan, British, Canadian and other passports. The Indian Community is mainly concentrated in Kampala and in the town of Jinja.

Indians and PIOs play a leading role in the Ugandan economy, especially in manufacturing, trade, agro-processing, banking, sugar, real estate, hotels, tourism and information technology. They employ thousands of Ugandans, and are amongst the biggest taxpayers in the country. PIOs and NRIs are estimated to have invested over US$ 1 billion in Uganda in the last two decades. Indian Nationals/PIOs who constitute about 0.1% of Uganda’s total population of 35 million, contribute about 60% of Uganda’s direct taxes as per statistics of the Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

‘Indian Association’, an umbrella organization of the Indian community works closely with the High Commission of India for furthering Indian interests. The Indian community organizes various cultural and other events including musical nights, folk dance shows, art exhibitions etc. all year round besides celebrating all Indian festivals with great fervour and enthusiasm.

‘India Day’, an annual feature, showcases Indian culture and attracts thousands of visitors. The event serves to bring together the Indian and Ugandan community. The Indian Association organizes cultural performances on this occasion wherein popular artists from India are invited to perform.

The Indian community engages in philanthropic activities in equal measure. Individuals and companies of PIOs regularly perform their share of social responsibility. A share of proceeds from various events mentioned above is donated to social causes in Uganda including sponsoring heart surgeries of Ugandan children in India, assistance to homeless, organizing blood donation camps etc.  

March, 2017

 
 
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