India and Uganda share historical relations spanning over a century. Indians first came to Uganda in the beginning of 20th century. India’s freedom struggle inspired the early Ugandan activists to fight colonization and eventually Uganda achieved freedom in 1962. India established its diplomatic presence in Uganda in 1965. During the reign of President Amin in early 70’s, around 60,000 Indians/PIOs were expelled. However, after coming into power in 1986, President Gen YoweriKaguta Museveni invited them back. Several progressive steps like restoring properties seized from PIOs encouraged many of those Indians to come back and make a fresh start. Relations between India and Uganda, over the years, have acquired a greater depth and breadth in areas such as political, defence, economic, commercial, cultural, education, health and tourism to name a few.
In addition to the above visits, several delegations of MPs and high ranking officers from Uganda have visited India.
Bilateral Cooperation & Assistance
During the visit of PM of India to Uganda in July 2018, MoUs/Agreements on bilateral defence cooperation, exemption from visa requirement for official and diplomatic passport holders, Cultural Exchange programme and establishment of Regional Material Laboratory in Uganda were signed. PM announced two Lines of Credits for construction of electricity lines and Substations worth US$141 million and Agriculture and Dairy production for US $ 64 million. It was also decided that India will set up MahatmaGandhiHeritage centre at Jinja where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed; additional training of Uganda People's Defence Force in various Indian Army training institutions was also announced. Further, a financial support for East African Community (EAC) which is currently chaired by Uganda was announced. India also announced donation of vehicles, for the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces and for civil use by the Ugandan Government; Bhabhatron Cancer Therapy machine to Uganda Cancer Institute; NCERT books for school going children of Uganda; and solar-power irrigation pumps to help in development of agriculture.
During the visit of VP of India to Uganda in February 2017, India announced donation of US $ 2 million worth of medicines and US $ 1 million worth medical equipment. Medicines worth US$ 1.6 million were handed over to Minister of Health of Uganda in January 2019 at the National Medical Stores in Entebbe by the High Commissioner of India.
India’s engagement with Uganda has been consultative, response-based and focuses on developing Ugandan capacities and human capital. Following the first India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-I) in 2008, Uganda was nominated by the African Union to host the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), one of the 5 institutes offered by India at the Pan-Africa level. The institute will impart world-class training in International Business and Management, develop entrepreneurial skills and promote research in foreign trade. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is the Indian implementing agency for the IAIFT.
At the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II) in 2011, it was decided that a Food-Processing Business Incubation Centre will be set-up in Uganda. The centre will provide support to the local entrepreneurs by enhancing their skills in food processing and acquaint them with latest technology and equipment used in the industry. This would lead to creation of additional jobs for the rural youth. Modalities for setting up the centre are being worked out by the implementing agencies i.e. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad and National Agricultural Research Laboratories, Kawanda.
At IAFS-II, India also offered, among other things, eight Material Testing Laboratories for Highways (MTLH). The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) decided to locate one MTLH in Uganda. The laboratory will significantly contribute to road development within the region by providing for material testing facilities for soil, aggregates, bitumen and cement concrete material for the road sector. The Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) which is the implementing agency for MTLH will also undertake related training courses for the local engineers to ensure that the facility continues to run smoothly and independently. MOU for setting up the MTLH was signed between the two sides in July 2018 during the visit of the PM of India to Uganda.
In addition to the above three institutions, a tele-medicine centre and a tele-education centre was set up under the Pan-African E-Network Project. A tele-medicine centre was set up in Mulago Hospital where several diagnostic equipment, such as ECG, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc., were provided. The Centre is connected to Indian hospitals to ensure world-class medical consultation and treatment for patients and medical education for students. A tele-education centre was set up at Makerere University. These initiatives have helped Ugandans access medical care and education from India using technology. These centres were inaugurated in August, 2010 by Foreign Ministers of both the countries.
The first ever Foreign Office Consultations between India and Uganda were held on 30 April 2018 in Kampala where issues of bilateral, regional and global importance were discussed.
Scholarships and capacity-building training programmes
India is seen as a destination for quality and affordable education by Ugandans. The Government of India offers scholarships and fellowships to Ugandans from the Government and private sector to enable them to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and research courses in India. Training courses in highly specialised areas are also conducted.India also conducts training courses for Uganda’s defence personnel. An Indian Army Training Team led by a Brigadier and consisting of two Colonels and one Group Captain is stationed at the Ugandan Army's Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka since February 2010 to assist in the training of the senior officers of the Ugandan armed forces.
An estimated 600 Ugandan students are presently studying in Indian universities. Over the years, hundreds of Ugandans have studied in Indian colleges and universities, including many Ugandan Ministers and high-ranking Government officials. An APTECH franchise and ISBAT University in Kampala have brought Indian education even closer to Ugandans.
Annual Bilateral Trade Statistics
(Value in US $ Million)
Uganda is a beneficiary of Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme of India for Least Developed Countries.Major items of Indian exports to Uganda include pharmaceutical products, vehicles, plastic, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals. Major commodities of imports from Uganda to India are edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers, coffee, tea, mate and spices, wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal, cotton, essential oils, and cocoa and cocoa preparation. Regular engagement between the private sectors in India and Uganda has deepened the involvement of Indian businesses in Uganda.
A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Uganda is in effect since 2004.
The Indian community presents the strongest and most durable economic and cultural links with Uganda. It is estimated that at present, there are approx. 30,000 Indians/PIOs living in Uganda, of which majority are Indian passport holders. Remaining hold Ugandan, British, Canadian and other passports. The Indian Community is mainly concentrated in Kampala and in the town of Jinja.Indians and PIOs play a leading role in the Ugandan economy, especially in manufacturing, trade, agro-processing, banking, sugar, real estate, hotels, tourism and information technology. They employ thousands of Ugandans, and are amongst the biggest taxpayers in the country. PIOs and NRIs are estimated to have invested over US$ 1 billion in Uganda in the last two decades. Indian Nationals/PIOs who constitute less than 0.1% of Uganda’s population, contribute about 70% of Uganda’s direct taxes as per statistics of the Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Revenue Authority.
‘Indian Association’, an umbrella organization of the Indian community works closely with the High Commission of India for furthering Indian interests. The Indian community organizes various cultural events besides celebrating Indian festivals with fervour and enthusiasm.
‘India Day’, an annual feature, showcases Indian culture and attracts thousands of visitors. The event serves to bring together the Indian and Ugandan community. The Indian Association organizes cultural performances on this occasion wherein popular artists from India are invited to perform.
The Indian community engages in philanthropic activities in equal measure. Individuals and companies of PIOs regularly perform their share of social responsibility. A share of proceeds from various events mentioned above is donated to social causes in Uganda including sponsoring heart surgeries of Ugandan children in India, assistance to homeless, organizing blood donation camps etc.