Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world. According to the World Bank’s data, in 2012, 33.2% of the population lives under $ 1.9 as day. Despite efforts to fight poverty, it is deep-rooted in the country. This pushes women in rural areas to engage in small-scale entrepreneurial activities, such as rearing and selling local breeds of animals, to supplement their income.
bidx main mission is to support the start, growth and finance of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that about 15% of the projects on our portals are coming from Uganda.
In this post we asked our data team to help us understand the business landscape in the East African country.
Business Sectors in Uganda
Agricultural products supply nearly all of Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings. Uganda’s main food crops include cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, corn, beans, and groundnuts. While, major cash crops include coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco. Business on our portals reflect this fact too. You can see that almost two thirds of the businesses published there are in the fields of Crop, Food and and Animal production. Crop and Animal production form 59.5% of the projects from Uganda, while they only make 26% of all business projects compared to all other countries we have on our platform.
One other sector where projects from Uganda are above average on our system is metal production. It is worth mentioning that the country’ mineral resources include gold, tungsten and tin. Gold, copper and iron are also found here.
Local market focus dominates the business ideas published on our portals. Ugandan business willing to export abroad makes up less that 20 percent of the business from this country. Ugandan entrepreneurs are not very different from the majority of entrepreneurs we have from all other countries.
Business relations with other countries
In our previous post about Colombia, we noticed that entrepreneurs tend to focus more on neighbouring countries and countries that share a similar culture. Is the same thing valid for Uganda and its neighbour too?
The map shows that the same fact is true here as well. The top 4 countries entrepreneurs who do business in Uganda focus on are Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan come right after the previous 4. Let’s not forget that Uganda is a landlocked country which is why big parts of its imports and exports go through the Kenyan port of Mombasa. In addition to Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo also share borders and trade activities with Uganda.
The five top Ugandan cities our entrepreneurs reside in are Kampala, Mbale, Lira, Kabale and Kisoro. We give business ideas on our system a score depending on how complete they are. Below is a comparison for the average scores business have within the aforementioned five cities. The horizontal line shows the overall average score for all businesses on our platform from Uganda.
About one third of the entrepreneurs we have from Uganda are females. If you still remember, this is more than the ratio we have seen for Colombia in our previous report.
How do investors see business in Uganda?
Investors slightly favour giving loans to SMEs in Uganda to having equities here. Nevertheless, about half of them are into both kinds of financial support.
While mentors focusing on Uganda believe the best kind of advice they can give to startups include market research, writing a business plan and helping with future strategy.
In conclusion, it’s good to know more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem of a country. Today, we had a quick glance at Uganda and we hope our data team continues to discover more about other countries through the bidx platform.