Indian Council for International Cooperation (Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad) organised a function in India International Centre, New Delhi, to welcome Uganda's new High Commissioner to India, Ms Mimisha Jayant Madhvani.
Ms Madhvani made a bombastic suggestion to voluntary organizations like the Council to try to interact with all Indians spread all over the world, instead of concentrating on bonded labour taken forcibly from India. “They should try to be more broad based so that more Indians are attracted to Indiaas their ancestral land,
Mr J.C. Sharma, former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and an honorary office bearer of the Council, introduced her He said her rich family suffered the brutality of Idi Amin regime and lost all their wealth and had to migrate to UK for safety.
Ms Madhvani said they lost their wealth, but were able to amass it again. She was sad for the million plus Ugandans who were tortured to death for no reason.
She said President Museveni of Uganda is interested more in developing his country than skulduggery. She said any investor can take out 30$ profit after paying taxes from Uganda. Sir Winston Churchill had called Uganda a pearl of Africa, “and so it is”
Ms Madhvani is the new Ugandan High Commissioner to India. She is also accredited to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Thailand.
The following is the unedited text of Ms Madhwani”s speech :
Today it is with great pride that we celebrate together Uganda’s 46th Independence Anniversary. It is a distinct pleasure and honour for me to represent HE President Museveni and the people of Uganda , to be with you all here in New Delhi joining our fellow Ugandans and the Uganda-Asian Community who are celebrating in Uganda as well as those in the Diaspora this extremely important day – a day of Uganda’s own “Tryst with Destiny:, to use the words made immortal by your own Jawaharlal Nehru – when Uganda began its life as a sovereign, independent Nation, as India did in 1947.
Ugandans have much to celebrate especially considering the difficult history of our first 20 years of post independence in 1962 that included the murderous regime of Idi Amin. Today Uganda has political stability and an economic growth rate of 8.4% compared to negative growth in 1986 when the NRM government took over. Uganda has for the past over two decades been on a steady course of Prosperity for all. Uganda is determined to reach the MDG goals to eradicate poverty with good economic policies and good governance and to continue on a path to further political and economic progress.
The bilateral cooperation between Uganda and India has a long history of some 130 years. However, recently, it has been further strengthened by the exchange of high level official visits both from India to Uganda and vice versa. On an Official visit to India in October 2006, Uganda’s Foreign Minister Hon Sam Kutesa was in Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. In June 2007 Hon Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs, led an Investment delegation organized by CII to Uganda, which was followed by the visit of Uganda’s Minister of Security Hon Amama Mbabazi to India in September 2007. These official visits have been interspersed by investment delegations led by different Ministers to India for CII’s India –Africa project partnership summit in New Delhi early this year, as well as the visit to Uganda by ASSOCHAM in June 2008.
A special mention should be made of two Head of State visits. The Rt. Hon Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his delegation participated in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings with 48 other heads of Government held in Kampala in November 2007. This led in April 2008 to the State Visit by the H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the First Lady, after the Africa – India Summit. We thank the Government of India for this memorable visit. Then, Uganda as Chair of the Commonwealth spear headed the support of the Africa Union for the Indian candidate, Ambassador Kamlesh Sharma as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. Uganda hosted the OIC in Kampala and today we have the pleasure of welcoming Mr Abu Hossain who traveled especially from Bangladesh here as he wishes to develop business with Uganda from his country.
So the India-Uganda partnership is fast growing and increased Indian investment will not only help accelerate Uganda’s integration into the global economy but also help Indian industry achieve good investment returns. Such visits and support have enhanced the friendship, deepened the understanding of our two peoples, enhanced the development and co-operation and have opened many doors including market access for Ugandan products to enter the Indian markets duty free –quota free as well as supply the rest of Africa using Uganda as a hub. This in turn enables the Indian private sector to invest in Uganda. Through activities of her trade and commerce organizations such as CII, FICCI, Assocham, IMC and through other State investment promotion agencies, India has unlocked opportunities for Indians to access the Ugandan market to realize the potential of high returns on investment in Uganda of up to 30% after taxes. Investing in Uganda allows Indian companies the potential to export from their Ugandan operations over 6000 products duty free/quota free to the USA under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. There are similar incentives for exports from Uganda to the EU as well. Moreover, Uganda has open capital and current accounts, a more liberal investment regime than India’s. Uganda has a double taxation treaty with India and with Mauritius. It is no surprise that the recent study by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation entitled “Doing Business 2009”, which tracks business reforms in emerging markets cites, Uganda as one of the most promising economies in the world and the best in East Africa. For example Mr Ravi Jaipuria of the Jaipuria Group has invested some US$ 35 million in the Dairy sector, TILDA Rice has invested over US$ 80 million. It is unfortunate that Vipul, Kashmira and Venu are not with us, but Rajneesh and his wife are no small substitute.I thank you for your unstinting support to Uganda
So there is enormous potential for further trade and investment. Progress along this long road can be accelerated by several specific measures.
First, we request that India accelerates EXIM bank approvals for infrastructure, oil, energy, roads, railways, ICT and agro-processing projects in Uganda. This is a win-win situation for both countries. Uganda offers many opportunities in these areas. In the energy sector, recently the Africa European Union Energy Partnership was launched between the African Commission and the European Commission. Euros 55 million have been allocated for the Project between 2007 -2011 and the Indian Companies are invited to participate as contractors and investors. Additionally, Uganda offers a vast range of business opportunities in the railways ,agribusiness, telecoms, resources sector and in the services sector, most of which will not be negatively impacted by the recent Wall Street crisis. Therefore, investing in Uganda offers some insulation and diversification from the economic recession about to hit the Western economies. Hon Minister the Indians helped build East Africa’s railways 100plus years ago-we now request your support to encourage IRCON, RITES, ESSAR, Reliance group and others to do a PPP to fast track the modernization of Uganda’s rails to enable rapid transport for goods and services. We invite TATA to establish her first international plant for the NANO in Uganda. I would like you to consider the following and see the opportunity for Corporate India big and small in Africa and Uganda in particular. The population of Africa is nearly a billion. India’s population is 1.2billion. 11 India’s fit into Africa and only 10% of Africa is developed. We just need entrepreneurship and to change the perception of Africa and Uganda in particular.
We request that the Indian media promotes Uganda’s image positively and also promotes tourism to Uganda. One hundred years ago, Rt. Hon Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain during his visit around the globe and across Africa arrived in Uganda. He found Uganda to be a uniquely beautiful country and called her “The Pearl of Africa.” Last month, whilst visiting Uganda to enhance the bilateral relationship for business, the Japanese State Minister for Investment said “Uganda is a hidden paradise in the Continent of Africa; unfortunately, it’s only a dark image of Uganda that is lingering in the minds of most people.” But the light is finally shining at the end of the tunnel – for example through the first ever India-Africa partnership Summit held in Delhi in April 2008 With rising incomes, tourism is growing among Indians. So tourism to Uganda should be promoted. Uganda is the Pearl of Africa, Gifted by Nature, and you can see it for yourselves. Indian tourist sector should come to the Source of the Nile in Jinja Uganda, where I come from. Last year, we were visited by Prince Charles with HRH Camilla. You can go white water rafting, bunji jumping, see the beautiful Rwenzori Mountains and the Mountain of the Moon. You can see the Mountain Gorillas as well as the tree climbing lions in Ishasha, cross the equator , and enjoy the friendly hospitality of Ugandan people.
Uganda and India’s relationship is broadening and deepening. This is in no small measure thanks to the visionary leadership of The Late Mahatma Gandhi, Late Jawarlal Nehru and the Late Rajiv Gandhi and H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Contacts at the Governmental levels have increased. Business relationships and opportunities are also rising. These excellent relationships between our two peoples attest to the strength of Uganda-India ties and are the foundation for the development of future opportunities for mutual benefit where they offer win-win situations. We must continue to deepen this friendship for mutual benefit and accelerate them in the face of the economic downturn in the West for our mutual economic advantage .
Once again, Hon. Minister Velu, Your Royal Highness’ from Uganda,, The Governor of Rajastan, Lady Governor ,Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, the Army Band, the caterers, our drivers on behalf of my colleagues and staff in the Uganda High Commission in New Delhi, I thank you all for being with us tonight to celebrate this auspicious day . I take this opportunity to invite you all to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda, the source of the waters of the River Nile in the heart of Africa. Please join me as we raise a toast in honour of and for the ever strengthening relations between our two sister countries-Uganda and India - as well as to the good health of H. E. the President of Uganda and Her Excellency the President of India.
For God and my Country
Thank you. Asante Sana