Kampala. Four years after Hardman Oil sold its stake in Uganda’s oil industry, Australian firms are taking a second look at the country with the appointment of an honorary consul to Kampala.

Mr Patrick Bitature, a prominent businessman, this week became the first domestic diplomatic representative of Australia in the country.

Mr Bitature chairs the board of the Uganda Investment Authority and is chief executive of Simba Group which has hotel, energy and telecom interests.

His main role will be to provide consular assistance to the diverse Australian community and to promote Australia’s political and commercial interests in Uganda.

The Australian High Commission in Nairobi previously handled consular affairs. This appointment paves way for the entry of more Australian firms and tourists in Uganda, according to Mr Geoff Tooth, the Australian High Commissioner to Uganda.

“Australia has many mining firms with growing interest in Uganda. We are looking at gold and all sorts of minerals,” Mr Tooth told Daily Monitor on the sidelines of Mr Bitature’s investiture as consul in Kampala, on Wednesday.

Tullow, which entered Uganda’s oil sector after Hardman’s exit, has since found over one billion barrels of oil in western Uganda. Production from the oil fields is still at least three years away, experts say.

The Australians are expected to take interest in mining prospects in Karamoja and elsewhere.

Canberra appoints Patrick Bitature as honorary consul to Kampala