Category: 13 key Sectors

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PACEID roots for Ugandan exports in Chicago- USA

The Africa Global Chamber of Commerce in Chicago in the state of Illinois in partnership with the Uganda Exports Advisory Committee (PACEID) on Friday hosted over 40 African American businesses in a drive to find buyers of Uganda’s agricultural and mineral products and attract investment in Uganda’s food value chains. The meeting which was attended by bankers, investment and finance, pharmaceutical firms, hospitality companies, leaders of the city of Chicago, representatives of the Illinois House of Representatives, faith leaders in the black community, and business people from the state of Detroit, was organized by Dr. Olivier Kamanzi, Uganda’s trade representative in the USA. Ugandan diaspora led by the former President of the Uganda North American Association (UNAA) Ms. Henrietta Wamala Nairuba attended the meeting along with other Ugandans.

Speaking at the event on Friday evening, the chairman of PACEID, Odrek Rwabwogo gave the history of the relationship between the USA and Uganda in trade, said “Every business or country can compete on multiple fronts based on its resources and products but Uganda has a deeper point of difference it offers the world”. This he said, “is the uniqueness of her centrality on the African market in both geography and free enterprise, market openness, skilled human resource easy to train for high-value production and the availability of raw materials to drive high growth industries such as semi-conductor chip making, electric vehicles and the emerging USD200bn health foods industry in the USA”.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo addressing African American business community in Chicago

Rwabwogo added, “We have had good leadership very much underestimated yet highly effective like your own Abraham Lincoln who saved your country from the curse of slavery and kept your union in 1864. Uganda’s current leadership has been so pivotal in shaping a stable and growing society in our region yet often misunderstood”. He gave an account of Uganda’s history praising President Yoweri Museveni and calling him ‘the Abraham Lincoln of Uganda who helped our country restore a sense of dignity and stability that we never had since 1962”.

President Yoweri Museveni attended the first trade and investment summit of the USA and Uganda in December 2022 in Chicago. Uganda’s coffee, vanilla, leather, fruits and banana flour companies exhibited at the event and took orders for supplies to the retail outlets in the Chicago area. PACEID with a target of USD6bn in fresh revenues in exports has been opening markets, setting food safety standards, and working on infrastructure along with efforts to provide low-cost funding for exporting firms. PACEID plans to open a trade hub with the Ugandan diaspora in the city of Chicago.

Dr. Kamanzi told the gathering, “I grew up in Switzerland and I had never been to Uganda till a year ago and I was blown off by the immense opportunity, the green of the country, its freshness and tastiness of the fruits, its game parks and how welcoming the people are. I think American companies can use Uganda as a base not just to process and export good agricultural products but also get higher returns in investment more than any parts of the world”.

Dr. Kamanzi, who is organizing the first Pan African trade, exports, culture and investment summit in Kampala in June this year, invited African American entrepreneurs like Mr. Robert Blackwell who is a manufacturer of table tennis equipment, Ms. Patricia Hanes of the Chicago Supplier Development Council,  Mr. Larry Ivory, President of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce,  Mr. Ousman Conteh, Vice President of the Chicago Hotels Association, Mr. Rifet Durmick Vice President of the BMO Bank and many others to plan their journey to Kampala and “see for yourselves the opportunity in Uganda”.

Uganda’s Trade Representative in Chicago, Dr. Olivier Kamanzi

Mr. Blackwell, a leading African American entrepreneur in Chicago and a friend of former President Barack Obama, later held a private meeting with Odrek Rwabwogo and called for greater connection between Africa and African Americans. He said, “Africa has not taken seriously the bonds of friendship and relations between the continent and their kin in the USA as partners in enterprise development and economic growth”. He added that “corporations in India and China have done a good job connecting their people to the diaspora in the USA and Africa needs to take a cue”

The Commissioner of the Board of Cook County, one of the largest counties in the USA with a budget of over USD6.9bn, Ms. Donna Miller, spoke of the need for a stronger trade and cultural relationship between Uganda and the state of Illinois. The Mayor of the City of Chicago who was represented by Aldermans William Hall and David Moore called for an education exchange program between Uganda and the city of Chicago.

The meeting was also attended by Cody Lorance, one of Uganda’s trade representatives in the USA who spoke about the Endiro Coffee experience trading in the USA in specialty coffees at a consumer level. Endiro has a coffee outlet in the city of Aurora, an hour’s drive north of Chicago city. The PACEID team drove to the city of Aurora on Saturday to gain a better understanding of the coffee and other products retailing needs. The PACEID team will be in Washington DC this week to follow through on trade commitments between Uganda and the USA and hold a conference at the national press club.

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Ugandan Government Partners with IPS and International Experts for Green Hydrogen-Based Fertilizer Production

In a strategic move to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce import reliance, the Ugandan government has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Industrial
Promotion Services (Kenya) Limited (IPS) for a green hydrogen-based fertilizer plant.

The plant will be strategically located at Karuma, Kiryandongo District, within the Bunyoro sub-
region, to leverage its proximity to the 600 MW Karuma Hydropower Plant.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), representing the Government of Uganda, has committed a minimum 100 MW supply from Karuma HPP to develop this innovative project.
Energy Minister Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu signed on behalf of the government.

“Uganda is embracing green technology to transform its agricultural sector and become a
regional sustainability leader,” said Dr Nankabirwa. “This project will not only reduce
dependency on imported fertilizers and empower farmers but also catalyse Uganda’s green
hydrogen economy, fostering innovation in mobility, power generation, oxygen production,
and other key sectors.”

The project, facilitated by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial
Development (PACEID), aims to boost domestic fertilizer production, improve food security,
and create economic opportunities for farmers.

IPS, part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), will lead the project
alongside Westgass Internasjol AS, a Norwegian green energy specialist, and Maire Tecnimont
S.p.A, an Italian multinational renowned for fertilizer plant engineering.

This venture enjoys the vital support of the British and Norwegian governments, global champions of green initiatives. Financial backing is anticipated from British International
Investment (BII) and Norfund, Norway’s development finance institution.

“IPS is dedicated to climate-positive development,” said Galeb Gulam, CEO of IPS. “This project is a game-changer for Ugandan agriculture, demonstrating our commitment to low- carbon economic solutions.”

Odrek Rwabwogo, PACEID chairman, emphasized the project’s support of Uganda’s export goals. “This initiative will harness resources and technology to make a decisive impact on our
agricultural sector and national export ambitions,” he said.

This collaborative effort envisions a future of resilient, sustainable agriculture with lasting
benefits for Ugandan farmers and the economy. It demonstrates the Ugandan government’s
strong commitment to import substitution and enhanced food security.

“Our sustainable approach will create jobs, decrease fertilizer imports, and address national
food and income security. This partnership exemplifies Uganda’s focus on ecological
responsibility and economic success,” added Kinar Kent, CEO of Westgass.

Westgas is the international project development arm of Westgass Hydrogen, a green energy company focused on accelerating the transition from fossil fuels in Europe and emerging markets. The Company enables customers to run carbon-neutral businesses by 2030, supplying affordable and secure green hydrogen and green ammonia, leveraging on its experience, expertise and network in the energy sector.

Westgass is collaborating on this project with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries. Norfund’s committed portfolio totals 3.1 billion USD in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, and Central America. Norfund has four investment areas: Renewable Energy, Financial Inclusion, Scalable Enterprises and Green Infrastructure.

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Uganda Expands Trade Horizons, Launches New Hubs and Forges Stronger Ties with Serbia and the Balkans for Enhanced Agricultural Export and Processing

Africa in 2019 just before COVID-19 induced lockdowns exported USD421bn and received USD31b in development assistance and USD40bn in FDI. Uganda lies somewhere small in these figures and it shows you how much exports dwarf aid only if we can focus. This export level is still so small for a group of human beings (Africans) who constitute 17% of the world population. Even worse the concentration of these exports is just simply commodities – minerals, oil and agricultural products that are unprocessed. This is why we keep awake driving export growth for Uganda and we will go anywhere, meet every criticism and work with joy; for we are called in our time to fix some things not to lament.

This is why I thank the partnership we have developed with Serbia and the Balkans to ensure that processing of coffee, handling of fresh fruits and vegetables and other products is done at the entebbe free zones area and make it easier to ship in bulk. The Hon. Ivica Dacic, foreign minister for Serbia and its former PM, came to the free zones to inaugurate the start of the hub at entebbe and called on the free zones authority. I thank Bratislav Stoiljkovic, our trade representative who is opening a third Uganda connect trade hub to make our products known and accessible from Uganda. Mr. Mark Pursey, our Trade Representative in UK will too be opening a hub in London this year as we prepare for the Africa- UK summit.

These efforts make our country come out of woodworks on trade and export matters. We are way behind in how nations compete and are instead locked in shallow peripheral political conflicts instead of focusing on what builds us as a country. PACIED target is 25 trade hubs across the world in the next ten years. This will attract technology and skills, capital investments and develop better supply chains for our products.

In the last decade exports of agricultural products that are of high value have grown only one percentage points yet the continent grows at 3% of GDP and her population at 2.5%! If this doesn’t shock people into reality, what will in terms of what needs to be done to keep Africa stable and growing?

So yesterday we articulated Uganda’s trade policy to the Serbian government delegation as:
1) We will offer tax and infrastructure incentives in return for removal of taxes on Ugandan products into Serbia and the Balkans.
2) We will insist on assembly and manufacturing of agricultural equipment such as coffee machines and processing of juices instead of export raw products to them.
3) We will help with the logistics and supply chain improvements, packaging and packing materials in return for them to process portions of the products here.
4) We will appoint an Honorary consul who will drive trade and not the ones who drink champagne and sell hardware to our country. We will be intentional on growing this trade relationship by signing a new bilateral agreement this year to capture these elements.

Thank you.

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Rwabwogo calls for export-driven economies at East Africa Trade and Investment Forum

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Odrek Rwabwogo has rallied East Africans to adopt export-driven economies for regional transformation.

Rwabwogo, who doubles as the Senior Presidential Advisor-Special Duties, made the remarks at the third and final day of the three-days East African Trade and Investment Summit at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday, January 27, 2024.

He was part of panel discussing how to grow regional economies at the high-profile summit that was organized on the sidelines of the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the 3rd South Summit (G77). He shared stage with Humphrey Nzeyi- Chairman of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, MTN Uganda CEO Sylivia Mulinge, Kudakwashe Matereke-Regional Chief Operating Officer of AFREXIM Bank and Dr. Thangvel Palnivel from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Uganda).

Alongside the panel discussion was a Business-to-Business meeting between Afroexim Bank, DTB, National Housing, Centenary Bank discussing the Packages they can offer to the private sector.

Rwabwogo shed light on PACEID’s interventions and their role in helping Uganda achieve its ambitious $6 billion target in export earnings by 2028. He highlighted the PACEID’s focus on four key areas: market research, standards and compliance, export infrastructure, and export financing. These initiatives aim to address the main challenges faced by exporters and improve the overall competitiveness of Ugandan products in international markets. “By understanding market trends and consumer preferences, exporters can align their products to meet international standards and target niche markets, ultimately boosting export earnings.”

Rwabwogo stated that these reforms will allow our government to re-align the thinking and help to strengthen the productive capabilities of our businesses.

“PACEID has invested in a team of researchers to inform our strategy, planning and decisions. Collaboration with Private and Public sector stakeholders in Uganda trade and investment is essential.” Rwabwogo noted while urging all stakeholders to exercise agency and drive forward the excellent and transformative trade and investment ideas discussed at the Summit.

The rest of the panelists discussed various aspects of trade and investment, including regional integration, market access, investment promotion, and trade facilitation.

John Bosco Kalisa emphasized the need for harmonized trade policies, streamlined regulations, and enhanced infrastructure to facilitate seamless trade flows among member states.

The discussions also delved into specific sectors that offer significant potential for trade and investment in East Africa. Agriculture, manufacturing, and services were highlighted as areas where there are ample opportunities for growth and development.

The East Africa Trade and Investment Forum provided a platform for policymakers, business leaders, and investors to exchange ideas and explore potential partnerships.

Held under theme “Deepening Cooperation in Trade, Tourism and Investment for Shared Global Affluence”, the forum started on 15th January 2024 and was officiated by the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of East African Affairs Rt Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and was officially opened by the Vice President Her Excellency Jesca Alupo on Tuesday 16th January 2024. The forum was been attended by over 500 delegates from 19 countries; Uganda, Qatar, United Kingdom (UK), Türkiye, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria, India, Cuba, China, South Africa, South Sudan, Italy, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria and Morocco.

The forum was also addressed by the EAC Deputy Secretary General – Customs, Trade and Monetary Affairs Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba Mutaawe. She underscored the EAC policies on ensuring that the EAC is an attractive destination for trade and investment. Such include the Customs Union and Common Market with no tariffs and harmonized rules of origin, cost, and time of doing business in EAC which is reduced with 13 One Stop Border Point (OSBP), and there is common infrastructure to process goods in customs. She committed that the EAC secretariate is ready and capable to facilitate trade within the community.

Rt. Hon. PM, Amb. Jan Sadek the Head of EU Delegation in Uganda also highlighted the positive trade balance that Uganda has maintained and a top recipient of FDI with a lot of potential for business in the country. He pledged EU – EAC partnership in investment and trade based on the existing bilateral agreements and invited investors to the EU Business Summit which is due this year.

While closing the forum, Humphrey Nzeyi noted that there is urgent need to;

  1. Scale-up cross-country investments in connectivity and high-quality infrastructure across the region both physical and digital connectivity.
  2. Invest in Bwindi and Mgahinga tourism infrastructure especially tourism roads, airports, and internal flights by Uganda Airlines. Data shows that money invested in such strategic infrastructure can be recovered in a period of less than 3 years.
  3. Build the capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to harness the potential of the AfCFTA. Strengthening the competitiveness and export readiness of SMEs in regional value chains through trade financing and business development services is crucial.
  4. Strengthen regional cooperation to eliminate the persistent trade barriers.
  5. Invest in cross boarder infrastructure such as roads, cargo airlines and railways to facilitate trade.

The 1st East Africa Trade and Investment Forum was organized by the Government of Uganda through the Ministries of Trade Industry and Cooperatives and Foreign Affairs, PSFU, UNDP Uganda, Stanbic Bank, National Housing and Construction Company, NSSF, Banana Industrial Research and Innovation and NEC-Streit – Armoured Vehicles among many others.

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Ugandan Peppers Given Green Light to Re-Enter European Market

After years of being banned from export to the European Union (EU) due to failure to meet safety and quality standards, the Ugandan pepper market has received a much-needed boost. The EU has lifted the ban on Ugandan peppers after a thorough examination process that proved they now meet the required standards, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

A statement by MAAIF dated December 22, 2023, announces that the peppers of genus Capsicum (other than sweet) originating in Uganda have been removed from Annex I to the EU Regulation 2019/1793. This is according to a recent communication received from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health (DG SANTE).

The EU 2019 audit resulted in Ugandan peppers being moved to annex 1, which is the worst before a ban- this means increased controls, all peppers had to be checked thoroughly.

According to the letter from DG SANTE, the information available indicates a satisfactory degree of compliance, leading to the decision that official controls at a harmonized increased level by national competent authorities at the entry into the Union will no longer be carried out. Instead, routine checks will be performed, streamlining the process for Ugandan pepper exports to the European market.

The move is seen as significant for Ugandan farmers, as it will open up additional markets, maximize earnings and result in an overall economic boost. With the ban lift, Uganda is now allowed to provide peppers to the EU, its largest market and the revenue generated could help to create employment opportunities and reduce poverty.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Maj. Gen. David Kasura-Kyomukama said, “This positive development is a result of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and various stakeholders involved in the pepper production and export chain and reflects the commitment of the Ugandan government and its partners to ensuring the quality and safety of agricultural products for international consumers.” 

The decision is a positive move towards increasing trade relations between Uganda and EU member states and is expected to lead to more investment in the agricultural sector of the country. Ugandan farmers, who have been working on improving the quality of the peppers, have expressed satisfaction with the lifting of the ban and are ready to increase production in response to the new development.

“We welcome the news of the lifting of the restrictions on Uganda’s pepper exports to the EU. This is a sign that when the public and private sector work together on regulatory oversight and self-monitoring and when the private sector observes the SoPs a lot can be achieved. We must however remain vigilant so that we do the same for all FFV exports and not just at point of entry but also at exit points. We thank the NPPO and the private sector for giving us this early Xmas gift and we pledge our commitment to play our role as we rebuild the export so it can boost exports, jobs and incomes.” Fred Zake, Executive Director Hortifresh Association Uganda remarked.

For the EU consumers, the move also means access to a versatile ingredient, peppers, in their diet and presents a crop of potential trade opportunities that speaks to the benefits of globalisation and open trade.

Despite the ban lift, the EU has upheld its stringent standards to protect its consumers, warranting continued vigilance from Ugandan farmers to ensure their produce continues to meet the required regulations.

The lifting of the ban on Ugandan peppers by the EU is a win-win situation for both Uganda and the EU, as it leads to increased trade, reinforces the benefits of international cooperation, and contributes to the growth of the agricultural sector of Uganda.

Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) applauded all the agencies, public and private, that have been working hard to achieve this milestone. “PACEID is delighted about the European Union lifting the ban on Ugandan peppers. This decision is a testament to the tremendous efforts made by our farmers and exporters in meeting international quality standards. This will open up new markets for Ugandan peppers in Europe, a region known for its high demand & premium prices.” Rwabwogo noted.

The removal of these restrictions is expected to enhance market access for Ugandan peppers in the European Union, contributing to increased export opportunities and economic growth for the country. The Ministry encourages all stakeholders in the pepper industry to maintain the high standards that have led to this favorable decision and to continue working towards the sustainability and growth of the sector.

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MDAs Commit Support to PACEID’s TradeXchange Digital Platform for Exports

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 convened several ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to discuss the TradeXchange, a digital export transformation platform being developed by Technology Associates at their offices along Yusuf Lule Road, Plot 23 in Kampala. The MDAs overwhelmingly pledged full support to the TradeXchange Platform that is key for Digitalization and growth of Uganda’s exports.

The orientation meeting with the MDAs was facilitated by PACEID so that Technology Associates could provide an update on the progress made thus far and to share a detailed plan, including the objectives, schedule, methodology and tool to be used during the Needs Assessment and requirements Gathering phase for stakeholder feedback and buy-in.

The key stakeholders in the meeting included officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Hortifresh (FFV) Association Uganda and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC).

Technology Associates Chairman Girisch Nair explaining how TradeXchange works

TradeXchange seeks to help exporters simplify trade processes and navigate complex procedures and regulations. Through this platform, Ugandan businesses will be able to connect with buyers and sellers worldwide, find competitive pricing and product opportunities, and submit and track electronic trade documents. All of these processes are streamlined using technology, resulting in time and cost savings for businesses turning to export.

The platform is intended to make a significant impact on the export industry in Uganda, as it tackles some of the most common barriers that local businesses face in the international market.

During the meeting, Technology Associates Chairman Girisch Nair highlighted TradeXchange’s potential to transform the entire Ugandan export industry, boosting the country’s export performance, and ultimately contributing to the country’s economic growth. He further emphasized the importance of support from MDAs in this process. “We need to come together as a nation to use TradeXchange to harness great technologies and move exports forward. This is very important as we embark on this project” stated Girisch Nair. He appreciated PACEID led by Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo for current strategies already being implemented to incentivize export-oriented businesses and initiatives.

PACEID’s Matthew Bagonza expressed gratitude to MDAs for their support on the project

Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Head of Administration/Operations expressed gratitude towards the MDAs and the private sector stakeholders for responding to the invitations to attend the orientation workshop. He asked NITA-U to provide guidance during this journey so as to avoid making mistakes. “We hope to establish an advanced sustainable national digital platform and ecosystem to manage Uganda’s trade activities across borders.”

Bagonza informed the meeting that Rwabwogo was unable to attend because he is currently out of the country on a similar cause making a case for Uganda’s exports. “Chairman is passionate about trade and exports in particular. He wants to improve our export earnings and is urging exporters to embrace the use of technology”.

Uganda has a target of USD 6bn in the next five years as export revenues across key products in selected markets.

PACEID Executive Committee member Mahmood Hudda

PACEID Executive Committee Member Mahmood Hudda presented the Digitalization Master Strategy to the MDAs stating that its implementation will not only be crucial for Ugandan SMEs but also for larger exporters looking to expand their market reach. ”The collaboration between PACEID, Technology Associates and MDAs will be vital to ensure that TradeXchange fulfills its potential as a driver of economic growth for the Ugandan business community.”

Dr. Paul Mwambu, Commissioner- Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF welcomed the initiative noting that the engagement was good and timely adding that the ministry is looking forward to working with PACEID and Technology Associates to make TradeXchange a reality. “This platform will certainly improve our market access. Traceability will be better because we shall have actual data. This digitization process makes so much sense and speaks to all the challenges we are facing in export. I applaud Technology Associates and PACEID. MAAIF fully endorses what you have put on ground”.

Dr. Paul Mwambu, Commissioner-Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF

He however cautioned that there must be due diligence. “This will help to know the key importers and exporters and what has been traded. Such information is required for us to make informed decisions regarding trade.”

Dr. Mwambu urged members to embrace the digital era as it reduces risks of forgery involving paper work saying that since going digital with E-phyto, interceptions have reduced by 97%.

Andreas Nocolaides, CEO- Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd suggested that the developers of TradeXchange be sensitive when it comes to data collection as the data belongs to the farmers. “This is an amazing opportunity to have uniformity for brand Uganda. Transparency will transform our economy.” he expressed.

Andreas Nicolaides, Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd CEO and Founder

Godson Mwesigye, Ag. Assistant Commissioner, Uganda Revenue Authority- Customs pledged the tax body’s full support and requested that PACEID coordinates this project to ensure traders are abiding by the laws. “The integrity of our business people (exporters) must be checked. URA is here to fully support this project.”

NITA-U Director Collin Babirukamu reaffirmed their support and commitment to seeing platforms like TradeXchange succeed. “This TradeXchange project is a move in the right direction and it resonates with our E-single window. It will definitely help with export verification.”

Godson Mwesigye, Ag. Assistant Commissioner- URA-Customs

Samuel Kawalya, Senior Trade Information Executive at Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) emphasized the importance of the TradeXchange platform. “Companies do business but countries trade. We are ready to work together to ensure the country continues to do sustainable trade and also change the mentality of our business people and have a good reputation out there.”

The insights gathered during this workshop will be instrumental in guiding the project through its next phase as Technology Associates expressed its commitment to helping Ugandan exporters succeed in the international market.

L-R: Maria Bisamaza from PACEID, Atwine Loyce from Fresh Cuts Uganda Ltd and Andreas Nicolaides from Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd

Other members in the meeting were; Mwanje John and Caroline Nankinga (both from MAAIF), Atwine Loyce from Fresh Cuts Uganda Ltd, Nsamba Taufeeq, Augustine Ssekyondwa (both from NITA-U), Steve Huges from Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, Maria Bisamaza, Allan Agaba, Jonathan Kaweesa, Joshua Magambo, Rowland Nkahebwa, Victor Mugasa (all from PACEID), Ajesh Sasi, S. Kaleeswaran, A. Balachandran, Naveen Kumar, Henry Tumusiime, Douglas Onyango, Suresh Thirumalaisany, Kwaiwia Humphrey and Resper Nyivuru (all from Technology Associates).

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Uganda’s Vanilla Industry Booms as a Profitable Export

Uganda is known for its rich agricultural landscape, producing some of the finest coffee, tea, and cocoa beans on the continent. What many people aren’t aware of, however, is that Uganda is also a leading exporter of vanilla.

Uganda is currently exporting over 400MT of vanilla a year which is more than 50% production increment in a period of 5years.

Vanilla exports have shot up

According to Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), Uganda exported 89.038 Tons of cured vanilla worth USD 8.33 million (30.5 billion shillings) by March, 2023.

Ugandan vanilla is a unique and highly sought-after product, simmering with natural flavors and fragrance that is exclusive from other vanilla products in the world. It’s been described as “exquisite,” “delicious,” and “distinctive” by those who have had the pleasure of tasting it. It is for this matter that Ugandan vanilla exporters signed huge deals to export the product to Serbia during the opening of the Uganda Connect trade hub in Belgrade in July this year.

Simon Musisi-CEO of The Simons Uga Limited with some of his processed products

Simon Musisi, Chief Executive Officer of The Simons Uga Limited dealing in premium quality vanilla is one of those who signed deals. He is a processor and exporter of vanilla beans, powder and vanilla pure extracts. “Vanilla processing requires a production team of persons who are trained and experts in that field in order to achieve a higher vanillin and good quality vanilla that can match the global standards of the international food industry.” he says. His major export market is USA and Europe.

The major markets for Uganda’s Vanilla include; USA, Indonesia, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Denmark, Check Republic, Switzerland and Republic of Korea.

One of the unique qualities of Ugandan vanilla is its hand-picked, thanks to farmers harvesting plants only when they reach maturity, using traditional and time-honored techniques to guarantee the quality of their crops. This dedication to quality ensures that the product is of high value to consumers who seek natural and unique products, which gives Uganda a competitive edge in the global market.

Uganda, the second-largest exporter of vanilla in Africa behind Madagascar, has various suitable growing conditions for vanilla, making it possible to produce a substantial and consistent quantity of vanilla beans every year. The country has two vanilla seasons, the June-July harvest and December-January harvest. The districts of Kayunga, Mukono, Mpigi, Jinja, Kmauli, Bundibugyo, Luwero and Kasese are the biggest vanilla growing regions in Uganda. Vanilla production of vanilla in Uganda is picking up, and farmers are working tirelessly to meet the growing demand for this natural and delectable ingredient.

Vanilla is a significant source of income for many small-scale farmers in Uganda. It provides a valuable opportunity for economic growth and stability in communities across the country. Musisi provides employment to thousands of people during the two seasons of vanilla harvesting. “We directly work with more than 2000 farmers and over 10,000 farmers through general suppliers.”

Simon Musisi, CEO of The Simons Uga Limited is a vanilla exporter

Vanilla production is an ideal business for farmers in Uganda because it requires a relatively small amount of land and can be grown alongside other crops. This makes it an affordable crop for small-scale farmers who may not have access to a lot of land.

When it comes standards, Musisi says he does not compromise on quality as he always exports the best that meets regional and international standards. “Vanilla is a raw material for the food industry, quality is a major requirement. Therefore, global food standards are mandatory. This is a major challenge that we have tackled through training our farmers and general suppliers to consider good agricultural practices. For example, farmers should not use pesticides on their vanilla farms or intercropping their vanilla gardens with crops that require pesticides, the farmers must harvest their vanilla after maturity and on proper harvest dates,” he emphasizes.

It is because of practices like these that Ugandan vanilla offers unique and exceptional taste and is highly valued in the global market. Uganda’s vanilla industry has transformed into a profitable export, driving economic growth and providing opportunities for local farmers. However, stakeholders must address challenges related to sustainability and market volatility to ensure the long-term growth and success of the industry.

Vanilla is one of the thirteen priority sectors the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) under the leadership of its Chairman, Odrek Rwabwogo, is working with to grow Uganda’s exports revenue to USD6B and beyond by 2028.

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PHOTOS:  PACEID treats Algerian Business delegation to networking dinner

On the sidelines of the Uganda-Algeria Trade, Investment Forum & Exhibition that was held at Hotel Africana over the weekend, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) hosted the Algerian delegation to a dinner, with the aim of fostering collaboration and expanding trade opportunities between business groups from both countries.

Guests respecting national anthems at the dinner

The dinner, at Sheraton Hotel Kampala on Saturday evening at the end of Day One of the three-day forum, kick-started an evening where the Algerian delegation led by their Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Tayeb Zitouni, were treated to a bit more of Ugandan culture and hospitality.

At the dinner, guests were presented with an opportunity to have further business discussions with Ugandan exporters who are interested in their sectors.

There were brief speeches from PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo, Olive Kigongo-President National Chamber of Commerce, Geraldine Ssali-Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Alintuma Nsambu-Uganda’s Ambassador to Algeria, Hon. Harriet Ntabazi-Minister of State for Trade and Prof. Rev. Florence Muranga from the Ugandan side. H.E. Oualid Cherif- Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Algeria to Uganda and Zakaria Bourennane spoke on behalf of the foreign delegation sharing insights and potential collaboration prospects.

BIRDC Director General Prof. Rev. Florence Muranga

Uganda’s Trade Representative for the Balkan region, Bratislav Stoiljkovic was present and thanked PACEID Chairman Rwabwogo for the initiatives the committee is putting in place to grow exports and achieve the USD6B target by 2028.

Uganda’s Trade Rep in the Balkans region Bratislav Stoiljkovic (L) addresses guests

At the end of the night, Algerians were not only treated to a sumptuous meal but also presented with gifts from PACEID about Uganda.

The head of the Algerian delegation was gifted a hand-woven banana fibre design of an Ankole long-horned cow from Western Uganda while others got hand woven banana fibre gift boxes that can be used as a centerpiece for fruits or ladies jewelry.

In each package, there was a hand woven throw-on and samples of Ugandan products for export like coffee from Great Lakes Coffee, Tooke flour from Banana Industrial and Research Development Centre (BIRDC), powdered milk and dried pineapple from Zahra Food Industries Ltd, all packaged in 100 percent cotton bags branded with a strip of bark cloth. On the gift cards, there were some of Uganda’s animals including Buffalos, Crested Crane, tree climbing lions, Gorillas and Elephants among others.

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