The French Embassy in Uganda and the Stanbic Business Incubation today, signed an agreement to support MSMEs in the agro-ecology and eco-tourism sector to promote sustainable productivity, create jobs and foster the emergence of networks of actors in these sectors.
The partnership between these two entities will devise programs within the sectors of agro-ecology and eco-tourism that best suit the entrepreneurs within the two networks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of; Zero hunger, diversity, synergies, efficiency in food production, co-creation and sharing of knowledge, and enhance resilience and responsible governance to create an enabling environment.
The 2-year project will provide underlining opportunity for the youth and women owned enterprises to scale up and transform their food & agricultural system, experience the green natural environment without damaging its habitats and support the building of a resilient economy.
The Ambassador of France to Uganda, H.E. Jules-Armand Aniambossou, underlined the strategic importance of such project in redefining the partnership that France has with Africa: “In the Speech he gave in Ouagadougou in November 2017, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, emphasised how critical entrepreneurship is to respond to the demographic challenge soon to be faced by the continent, and which will be translated in the need to create quality employment opportunities for young people and women.”
Tony Otoa, the Chief Executive at Stanbic Bank, said the project will structure and provide a needs assessment of the two networks of entrepreneurs in the fields of agro-ecology and eco-tourism to inform government policies and further intervention.
The Ambassador of France highlighted the importance of the edge-cutting sectors that have been selected – agro-ecology and eco-tourism – with the aim of enhancing environmental protection in Uganda, the 14th most vulnerable country to climate change in the world according to the World Bank.
Otoa said, “We shall offer a holistic approach that seeks to reconcile agriculture and communities with natural processes for the common benefits of nature and livelihood and provide a form of tourism involving responsible travel to natural areas, environment conservation and improve the well-being of the local tourism.”
He added, “The project will build and strengthen the capacity of MSMEs based on their needs to enable them scale-up their businesses, mainstream sustainable agriculture on a large scale, and promote the development of links between the members of the networks, the French Embassy and other International actors in this ecosystem.”
His Excellency added: “We strongly believe that our added value as a country in supporting these young game-changers is to foster opportunities for networking towards international actors and skills transfer, in favouring good practices especially in sectors where France embodies a certain excellence”.
“We shall also offer competitive micro-grants to the entrepreneurs of the two networks and promote visibility of the eco-tourism potential in Uganda to the international market” Otoa said.
The Stanbic Business Incubator and French Embassy will be working with Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Tour Operators Association, Federation of Small and medium Enterprises Uganda, Agribusiness Alliance Uganda, Uganda Registration Service Bureau and Uganda Investment Authority among other partners in the implementation of this project.