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Women-Led Businesses Set to Flourish as Euro Investment Bank Injects Over Shs851bn into Uganda



During Wednesday’s high-level Uganda –  EU Business Forum “Boosting Trade and Investment. What can Uganda gain from the Global Gateway?” eight new projects with a total financial envelope of over €200 million have been launched to support small business owners, young female entrepreneurs, agribusinesses as well as vital digital infrastructure projects in full Team Europe format with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and several Member States.

Commissioner for International Partnership Jutta Urpilainen said: “These concrete initiatives will make a difference to aspiring entrepreneurs, Ugandan businesses and create jobs in multiple sectors. This is a perfect example of how Global Gateway can make a tangible difference for citizens and businesses and unlock the full potential of a partner country by working together.”

The Global Gateway strategy provides a holistic support to the Ugandan economy and society across the board by bringing the private and public sector together to invest in the four essential pillars of the economy of the future:

Investments in Female Entrepreneurs

The “Investing in Young Women-Led Entrepreneurs Business in Africa” initiative launched in Uganda today secures €40 million from 11 member states, EIB, EBRD, and AEDFI, supporting young entrepreneurs, fostering job creation, and promoting business growth in 8 Sub-Saharan countries.

Additionally, a €50 million investment from the EU and Belgium targets enhancing employability, particularly for vulnerable youth and women in Uganda. It aims to improve access to green and decent employment opportunities.

Investments in Housing and Human Rights

The EIB and Housing Finance Bank of Uganda announced a partnership with a €25 million EIB loan focusing on supporting private sector entities, especially SMEs. With a gender focus, at least half of the funds will benefit businesses owned or run by women or those serving women.

The “Advancing Respect for Business and Human Rights (ARBHR) in Uganda” project with Belgium, with a EUR 5 million budget, aims to reduce human rights abuses in Ugandan businesses, particularly those affecting women, through awareness-raising, civil society advocacy, and institutional capacity enhancement.

Investments in Digital Infrastructure

The European Investment Bank supports the construction of more than 500 new telecom towers in rural Uganda with a €25 million loan. TOWERCO will enhance mobile network coverage with the objective of ensuring last mile connectivity up to the most underserved regions, and enable access to 4G and 5G data services, as well as mobile money solutions. The goal is to promote digital empowerment and economic advancement in Uganda with sustainable infrastructure development, including the use of renewable energy sources like solar power.

Investments in Sustainable Agriculture

The START Facility, funded with €11.5 million, supports Ugandan agribusinesses through concessional loans, technical assistance grants, and credit guarantees. The €50 million EIB loan to Centenary Rural Development Bank (CERUDEB) benefits microentrepreneurs, especially women, aiming for nearly 2 million loans over seven years. The €12 million EU and Denmark investment in the Agricultural Business Initiative (ABI) aids 200,000 Ugandan farmers in improving climate resilience and productivity via matching grants and Business Development Services (BDS).

The Uganda-Europe Business Forum

The Forum is organised by the Sustainable Business for Uganda (SB4U), which is a collaborative tripartite platform of the EUD in Kampala, the Government, and the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda. The SB4U was officially launched at the first Uganda-Europe Business Forum in Kampala in 2020. The overall objective of the SB4U Platform is to help make Uganda’s business environment more conducive to inclusive and green investment for European and Uganda companies.

Now in its third edition, the forum promotes partnerships, trade, and investments between European and Ugandan companies. It aims to attract European investment in sectors like agribusiness, minerals, energy, digital, and tourism, for sustainable initiatives.

The EU’s longstanding partnership with Uganda spans sustainable business, clean energy, gender equality, education and refugee solutions.  aiming for transformative change and economic growth. The Global Gateway strategy promotes mutually beneficial partnerships and investments in jobs and growth in Uganda.

Global Gateway

The EU Global Gateway strategy provides the framework for the EU’s external action. It is the EU’s positive offer to partner countries aiming to narrow the global investment gap with value-driven investments from public and private sectors, support global economic recovery and accompany the twin green and digital transitions outside the EU.

Across the world, Global Gateway aims to mobilise up to €300 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 with a mix of grants, concessional loans and guarantees to de-risk private sector investments.

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