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Lack of Market Research Dragging Local Investments in Acholi

Jackson Odong, the proprietor of Jarib Industries LTD, a local firm dealing in honey; peanut and rice processing in Gulu told Uganda Radio Network that the region lacks crucial market research information and mentorship programs, which would help them understand customer needs, and make well-informed market decisions.
Some of the top sectors for investment in northern Uganda include building and construction among others - Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 3

Local investors in Gulu have cited lack of adequate market research and advisory services for dragging investments and business innovations in post-conflict Acholi sub-region. 

Jackson Odong, the proprietor of Jarib Industries LTD, a local firm dealing in honey; peanut and rice processing in Gulu told Uganda Radio Network that the region lacks crucial market research information and mentorship programs, which would help them understand customer needs, and make well-informed market decisions. 

He argues that as a result, many proprietors have ended up investing in the wrong or profitless enterprises, yet market research would effectively guide them in areas where services are needed and investments are of paramount importance.

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Dyson Okumu, an investor in the hotel and hospitality industry notes that numerous cultural and Eco-tourism sites in Acholi have very scanty information to attract potential investors. 

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Gulu District Chairman Martin Ojara Mapenduzi says that several entrepreneurs who amassed financial resources during and after the war are afraid of investing their money due to lack of investment research. 

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Some of the top sectors for investment in northern Uganda include building and construction, agribusiness, tourism, hotel and hospitality, domestic air transport like aviation, oil and gas, fruit pulp processing and information communication technology among others. 

Despite lack of affordable financing, some entrepreneurs argue that infrastructure systems like roads, electricity and water are relatively poor in the sub-region, a factor that has deterred several local investors.    

The World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business Report ranked Uganda 127 out of 190 countries, seven positions lower than the previous year.  Uganda is also ranked below average in sub-Saharan Africa, including among others starting a business and trading across borders.