, KAMPALA, Aug 7 – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has lauded Kenyan entrepreneurs for their role in fostering regional economic development through sustained cross border trade and investments.
Speaking during the official launch of the new US$26 Million Oasis Mall anchoring Nakumatt Holding\’s Oasis Branch in Kampala and owned by award winning Kenyan lady entrepreneur Ms Amina Hersi Morghe, President Museveni described the investment as a landmark economic empowerment tool.
Accompanied by Uganda\’s Finance Minister Syda Bbumba and Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah, President Museveni singled out Nakumatt\’s 24-Hour operations as a trendsetter in Uganda.
In a humour filled speech, President Museveni likened Nakumatt Holdings round the clock shopping concept to America\’s Cable News Network (CNN) which he said, was a novelty guaranteed to further spur regional economic development.
"I vividly recall going to the United States some years ago and enjoying 24 hour service TV on CNN which is close to Nakumatt\’s 24 hour retail services here at the Oasis Mall," President Museveni said.
And added: "This is a new world of shopping empowerment for Uganda shoppers."
During his guided tour of the new Oasis Shopping Mall, President Museveni noted that a four-acre piece of land had been positively transformed to a multimillion shopping complex employing more than 400 Ugandans.
While welcoming President Museveni\’s backing of Kenyan investors in Uganda, Nakumatt Holdings boss Atul Shah confirmed plans to further expand the firm\’s operations in Uganda.
Barely four months into the opening of Nakumatt Oasis, Mr Shah disclosed that business at the new hypermarket had considerably picked up.
Nakumatt Holdings, he explained is already scouting for expansion sites in the Kampala suburbs of Ntinda, Kabalagara, Makerere and Portbell road as part of the firm\’s Uganda investment plans.
In her speech, Uganda\’s Finance Minister Bbumba reiterated Uganda\’s commitment to attracting investors as part of the government\’s economic prosperity plans.
Efforts by the government to diversify its economic dependence from agriculture, she said are now beginning to bear fruit with the service sector having picked up the mantle as the leading economic driver contributing more than half of the country\’s gross domestic product.
"The service sector which comprises elements such as hotels and such malls is now contributing more than 50 per cent of our GDP followed by the Industrial sector which is now contributing more than 25 per cent of our GDP," She said.
And added: "This a key reason why we will continue to encourage investments in such emerging sectors which also provide market avenues for our agricultural and industrial produce."
Housing more than 58 outlets, the new 35,000 square feet Oasis Mall is a premier shopping complex defining Kampala\’s retail shopping scene.
As the anchor tenant at Oasis Mall, Nakumatt Oasis Hypermarket is the first Nakumatt Holdings outlet in Uganda and covers a shopping floor space of more than 75,000square feet stocked with a variety of more than 50,000products.
Other Kenyan enterprises at Oasis Mall include KCB and Equity Bank.
Oasis Mall developer and Kathar Investments Managing Director Amina Hersi is a Kenyan entrepreneur with vast investments in Kampala. Alongside Oasis Mall, Ms Amina also runs Kingstone Limited a hardware supplies store and is also developing Laburnam Luxury Apartments in Kampala\’s leafy Nakasero suburb.
Last year, Ms Amina was awarded the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her entrepreneurial roles in Uganda.