Category: Press Stories

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Uganda secures customs-free storage space for exports at Serbia’s second biggest Airport

Uganda has signed an agreement with the airport of Nis, some 200 kilometers south of Belgrade the capital of Serbia, to handle cargo from Uganda into the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The airport named after the third century Roman emperor Constantine the Great who was born in the region of Nis, receives 150 large size cargo trucks daily with transit goods to Greece, Albania, Macedonia and other Balkan nations of south-Central Europe. The airport also handles large volumes of tourism passengers in the region during summer in Western Europe.

Nis Constantine the Great Airport is the second largest and second busiest airport in Serbia, after Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.

PACEID Chair Odrek Rwabwogo (C) witnessed the signing of the agreement between Bratislav Stoiljkovic (L) and Mihaldjo Zdravkovic (R), the Managing Director Nis Constantine the Great Airport

The agreement was brokered by Uganda’s Trade Representative in the region, Mr. Bratislav Stoiljkovic. Bratislav believes that securing this space is a step closer to getting Uganda’s value-added products into Serbia and the entire Balkan region through a fully integrated logistics value-chain. H.E President Yoweri Museveni opened a trade hub (Uganda Connect) in Belgrade the capital of Serbia in July this year. The hub has generated demand for visits to Uganda and orders to source products from Uganda. Uganda Connect is a facility promoting Ugandan exports in Serbia and the European market.

Serbian investors including Kafica Moja, one of the largest coffee sellers in hotels and supermarkets in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, will be processing and exporting roasted coffee from Uganda to the Balkan region. The company was invited by President Museveni when he visited Serbia to open a trade summit in July 2023.

Odrek Rwabwogo and Uganda’s Trade Representative in Serbia outside Nis Constantine the Great Airport

The agreement signed on Saturday 4, October 2023, at the airport with the Managing director of the Nis Constantine the Great Airport Facility Mr. Mihaldjo Zdravkovic, gives Uganda exporters more than 750 square meters of storage and shipment space for the shipment to the onward seaports of the neighbouring Thessaloniki in Greece, Duress in Albania and Varna in Bulgaria, all in a sailing range of less than 300kms from southern Serbia. The port of Nis receives and clears all cargo from Asia and Africa into the Balkans. A number of Serbian companies in July confirmed orders for Ugandan vanilla, coffee, banana flour, cocoa, flowers, nuts and dried fruits amounting to USD200m.

The agreement signing on Saturday was witnessed by Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID).

PACEID Chair Odrek Rwabwogo speaking to Serbian press after witnessing the signing of the agreement on Saturday 4, November 2023

Rwabwogo was in Belgrade, Serbia to meet the trade minister, Mr. Tomislav Momirovic to press for tax free entry of Ugandan products and services into Serbia as agreed between Presidents Museveni and Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia in July 2023. He was also in Belgrade to check on the preparations for the visit of President Vucic to Uganda in January 2024.

“This storage and shipment base for Uganda gives us much better access to a GDP market of over USD100bn of the Balkans. It will lessen storage and shipment costs once we connect it to Entebbe and Mombasa or by air out of Entebbe. Ugandan companies can now use this as testing ground for holding and conveying cargo in the region and beyond”. Rwabwogo said at the signing ceremony.

Bratislav Stoiljkovic speaks to Serbian media after signing the agreement

Ugandan exporters have applauded the move and expressed their gratitude to Bratislav and Rwabwogo for their dedication to promoting Uganda’s exports through new markets, infrastructure development, adherence to international standards, and improved export financing which are vital for unlocking the country’s export potential.

Dr. James Kanyijje, Managing Director KK Foods Limited has welcomed this achievement saying it’s a key requirement in order to trade in international markets. “It means a lot, it’s part of all requirements for better business after capital. Now, with cold storage, it is possible to increase our exports in the Balkans. President Museveni promised to support local exporting companies, now is the time.”

Uganda has secured more than 750 square meters of storage and shipment space at Nis Airport in Serbia

The Simons Uga Limited CEO Simon Musisi says, “With this opportunity of accessing free storage space at Nis Airport, our Ugandan vanilla exports into the Balkans (a region of over 200M people) shall greatly increase and a positive effect on returns on exports is to be registered. This will grow our sales throughout Eastern Europe and our farmers will be able to receive fair prices on their vanilla. We Thank PACEID under the leadership of Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo for this great achievement”.

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Intra-African Trade Fair a significant step towards realizing the potential of the AfCFTA

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Chairman, Odrek Rwabwogo, will lead a Ugandan delegation of private sector exporters to Cairo, Egypt for the 3rd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023).

Organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim bank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the event will run from 9th-15th November, 2023 under the theme ‘The AfCFTA Marketplace’.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo

The trade fair will provide a unique and valuable platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people with a GDP of over US$3.5 trillion created under the African Continental Free Trade Area. It will also facilitate networking opportunities and discussions on how to capitalize on the AfCFTA agreement.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a significant initiative aiming to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. Currently, intra-African commerce accounts for only 16% of the total African trade. The IATF aims to boost this percentage by providing a platform for businesses across the continent to connect, showcase their products and services, and explore investment opportunities.

The AfCFTA agreement, which entered into force earlier this year, seeks to create a single market for goods and services within Africa, leading to increased trade and economic development. With the participation of 54 out of the 55 African Union member states (43 parties and another 11 signatories), it is considered the largest free trade agreement in terms of participating countries since the creation of the World Trade Organization.

PACEID recognizes the immense potential that the AfCFTA holds for African businesses and by participating in the trade fair, the committee aims to help local businesses expand their footprint and tap into new markets. PACEID, working with exporters, development partners and the Government of Uganda will showcase at Africa’s Marketplace in Cairo.

“The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development is gearing up to participate in the Intra-African Trade Fair. By showcasing Ugandan products and providing valuable information, the committee hopes to contribute to the growth of exports in Uganda and on the continent at large. We encourage Ugandans businesses to register and take advantage of this unique opportunity to position themselves for success in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.” Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Executive Committee Member notes.

Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Executive Committee Member

Ugandan exporters will set up exhibition booths at the trade fair, where they will showcase a wide array of products from various industries; agricultural goods and manufactured products. They will also be educated about the benefits of exporting and how to navigate the AfCFTA agreement.

PACEID is working closely with relevant government agencies and trade associations to ensure a successful and impactful participation in the trade fair. This participation is a significant step towards realizing the potential of the AfCFTA and promoting economic prosperity across Africa.

During the seven-day event, attendees will participate in a number of activities; exhibition, investment forum, fashion/entertainment, B2B/B2G platform, Egypt Culture Day, Africa Automotive Show, AU Youth Start-up Programme and Diaspora Day among others.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) is a significant initiative aiming to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. Currently, intra-African commerce accounts for only 16% of the total African trade. The IATF aims to boost this percentage by providing a platform for businesses across the continent to connect, showcase their products and services, and explore investment opportunities.

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STATEMENT ON AGOA BAN FROM THE OFFICE OF ODREK RWABWOGO, CHAIR OF UGANDA’S PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON EXPORTS AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT (PACEID)

We are disappointed by the unfortunate decision by the United States (U.S.) to end the participation of Uganda in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade programme.

The reason given by U.S. President Biden was, ultimately, because Uganda’s democratically elected parliament passed an Act of which he and his colleagues in the U.S. Democratic party disapproved. 

It mattered not that the law in question – the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) – is popular amongst Ugandans. There are numerous public opinion polls conducted by reputable western opinion research companies that are testament to that fact. However, it was not popular with President Biden and his colleagues. Therefore, it seems they have decided Ugandans should be punished.

It is difficult to see for whose benefit the Biden administration took this decision, if not their own domestic voter base in advance of the upcoming 2024 election. Certainly, no Ugandan – whatever their sexual preference – will benefit. While Ugandan trade with the U.S. through AGOA was insubstantial, growth of our exports to the U.S. and other partners was an important pillar of our economic strategy going forward. Ugandan farmers and small business owners will suffer. 

But more than that, it sends a message to all Ugandans – indeed all Africans – that their already slim prospects for economic prosperity are contingent on whether they vote in line with the values of whoever happens to hold high office in the U.S., not their own. They will not find this acceptable. Nor should they.

It is worth noting that democracy is backsliding across Africa while instability is on the rise. Uganda is an increasingly rare example of an African economy that shares Western values of democracy and rule of law. Like most African countries, we also believe in and seek to uphold our own traditional African values – and public support for AHA stands testament to that. 

The AGOA programme was established in order to promote economic growth, good governance and free markets in Africa. It is a policy of great generosity and foresight by those who created it to bind Africa and the U.S. in partnership and respect. It was not established as a stick to beat the populace of African countries who vote in a way that offends the social sensibilities of the developed West. Yet that is how it is being used now. 

We note that the decision made this week is a recommendation to Congress – and not yet passed into law. We therefore remain, as always, ready to discuss this decision with our American partners and allies – and hope that they have the generosity to listen. 

Odrek Rwabwogo 

CHAIRPERSON 

PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON EXPORTS AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT (PACEID)

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PACEID’s interventions are steadily placing Uganda on the global exports map

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) has been instrumental in driving the growth of the country’s export revenue. Since its inception, March 16, 2022, its strategic initiatives and effective decision making have helped our nation expand its presence in international markets, leading to a significant increase in export volumes.

The committee is tasked with improving Uganda’s foreign earnings to USD 6BN in the next five years and USD 100BN in 2062 from the prioritized thirteen (13) key products; Coffee, Tea, Fruits & Vegetables, Beef, Dairy, Vanilla, Grains, Sugar, Fish, Banana Flour, Flowers, Tourism, Cement and Steel. 

Under the stewardship of Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo, who doubles as the Special Presidential Advisor-Special Duties (SPA-SD), PACEID advises President Museveni on the strategic and systematic interventions aimed at accelerating exports growth and industrial development for national transformation.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo discusses Uganda’s export with a business expert from UAE

PACEID, which aims to increase the competitiveness of Ugandan products and diversify Uganda’s export base, has enabled Ugandan companies to reach new markets and enhance their visibility on the global exports map.

Business Unusual

Under this module of disrupting the usual style of operation, as a new approach to export markets, PACEID in partnership with various stakeholders has rolled out a succession of trade, investment and tourism summits hosted in various countries within the East African region, rest of Africa and the world to identify off-takers of the 13 priority exports. The committee does not just look for new markets, but rather do it aggressively, intentional with every member mentally invested to ensure that these markets are fulfilled. So far, PACEID has organized close to ten of such trade missions in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where Uganda exported USD 267.19 million worth of goods as of two years ago, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. South Sudan in July 2022, UK in September 2022, US in December 2022 and South Africa in February 2023 are some of the other markets where PACEID made a strong case for Uganda’s exports and appointed a Trade Representative (TR) in each of those. Some Ugandans might be thinking of this as a waste of money but fact is that these TRs are not paid a single shilling. They are selected for their independent personalities, passion and interest in promoting Uganda’s products and services but most importantly, they believe in the vision Chairman Rwabwogo has for Uganda’s exports and economy in general.

At these summits, exporters and trade experts partake in panel discussions, exhibitions and B2B sessions where participants from the public and private sectors network, share opportunities and identify strategies to position Ugandan products and services internationally and attract potential investors to Uganda. TRs provide technical expertise to help Uganda penetrate new regional and international export markets.

Uganda’s Trade Representatives during a forum at State House-Entebbe in March 2023

Unlike before, PACEID is playing a crucial role in lobbying for favorable trade agreements and policies. By engaging with government bodies and negotiating at international forums, the committee has successfully advocated for reducing trade barriers that have been hindering the free movement of Ugandan products, ultimately providing a conducive environment for our exporters to thrive.

PACEID, together with Uganda’s Trade Representative in Serbia, Mr. Bratislav Stoiljkovic, went a step further at the recent mission and set up a Uganda Trade Hub ‘Uganda Connect’ in Serbian capital Belgrade. The Hub, located in state-of-the-art central neighborhood Belgrade Waterfront, features a Ugandan coffee shop and market place for our fresh fruits and vegetables that Serbians cannot seem to get enough of and is an information centre for many who did not know about Uganda and its great tourist destination sites.

Yes, Serbia might be an emerging market economy in the upper-middle income range but what makes it strategic is that it is a gateway to the eleven countries in the Balkan region (south Eastern Europe) with a combined GDP of 100 Billion Euros. Serbia, because of its weather (mostly winter), consumes coffee worth 1billion Euros thanks to their extensive coffee consumption culture.

Uganda Connect hub in Serbia is the first of similar outlets that will be opened in several export markets to accelerate entry of Uganda’s products in key markets in the region and beyond.

Last month, Mr. Clive Hunter from the UK Trade Representative office was in Uganda for two weeks on a fact-finding mission engaging key public and private stakeholders along the value chain, doing buyer assessment on the different export companies to establish their capacity to supply the key commodities identified by the buyers such as macadamia, cashew nuts, ground nuts, fruits and herbs and their capacity to meet the quality requirements for the UK market, home to some of the world’s largest retailers in the world.

Clive Hunter from UK Trade Representative’s office was in Kampala recently assessing farmers’ capacity to export to the UK

Through PACEID, Uganda has been able to establish itself as a reliable supplier of various commodities such as coffee, tea, and horticulture produce. Through trainings in partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), exporters have been able to improve the quality and standards of Ugandan products, making them more attractive to international buyers. This has in turn, slowly but steadily, boosted the confidence of international buyers in Ugandan products, leading to increased demand and exports.

By providing guidance and support to local industries, PACEID has facilitated the development of export-oriented sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and services that are enabling Uganda to establish itself as a competitive player in the international market.

The committee works closely with various stakeholders, including government agencies, businesses, and development partners, to identify export opportunities, address barriers, and develop policies that promote trade and industrial growth.

PACEID has also been instrumental in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into Uganda by encouraging the establishment of export-oriented industries, leading to increased production and exports.

Overall, PACEID’s initiatives and strategies have been vital in putting Uganda on the global export map. The committee’s efforts have helped to enhance Uganda’s export competitiveness, attract investment, and promote market diversification, thereby contributing to the country’s economic growth and development.

“We are creating a new pathway for Uganda’s trade by going on the market from the farm through one shipper into supermarkets of another country. Uganda hasn’t been able to do this in the past because of issues of standards, certifications, quantities and funding. This is a new way and we should not make mistakes because this will cost us jobs and tarnish our country’s image. We are encouraging consortiums or clusters of coffee, dairy, tourism, beef, fruits and vegetables and those who can come together to strengthen supply, quantities and deal with sustainability issues. If we don’t act together, each of these companies is too small to do anything on the market.” says PACEID Chairman Rwabwogo.

One of the key achievements of the committee has been its focus on identifying emerging opportunities and promoting the export of high-value products. Through extensive market research and analysis, the committee has identified niche sectors where our nation has a comparative advantage and encouraged businesses to explore these untapped markets. This strategic approach has not only diversified our export portfolio but also helped us reduce our reliance on traditional sectors.

President yoweri Museveni with Trade Representatives

Chairman Rwabwogo has time and again labored to explain that exports can’t happen unless you have infrastructure because improving infrastructure is crucial for enhancing international trade and boosting economic growth. It is upon this background that PACEID has a strong partner in Uganda Airlines which has done tremendously by opening direct routes to new markets that Uganda is looking to take advantage of. In the past two weeks alone, Jennifer Bamuturaki and her team launched the Entebbe-Mumbai where the national carrier will be flying to India thrice a week, a move that is highly appreciated by exporters. Uganda Airlines also launched the Entebbe-Lagos route which opens doors for Ugandan products into the Nigerian market whose GDP is expected to hit USD 489.80 billion by the end of 2023, according to Trading Economics global macro model and analysts’ expectations.  

For this, PACIED is pleased that its message on developing of export infrastructure, routes, standards/compliance and markets is catching on. Uganda has a wealth of products and talent that deserve global recognition. PACEID is proud to partner with local businesses/private sector to promote Uganda’s exports and unlock new opportunities in international markets.

Let’s showcase the best of Uganda to the world.

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Uganda Airlines boosts exports with new direct route to Lagos

Uganda Airlines, on Thursday October 19, 2023, made history with its first ever direct flight from Entebbe International Airport to Lagos, Nigeria, landing at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.  

Lagos becomes Uganda Airlines’ thirteenth (13th) destination. This new direct route is expected to open up more trade and investment opportunities between Uganda and Nigeria.

There were extraordinary scenes as the Uganda Airlines team led by Captain Isaac Ogoyi skillfully navigated the skies on the national career’s inaugural flight. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with Uganda Airlines on this milestone. Uganda Airlines hailed UNDP team for their dedication to enabling trade, investment and tourism in Uganda.

Uganda Airlines CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki says the aim is to open more routes on the continent to enhance efficiency, and expediting transit of both passengers and commodities every Sunday, Monday and Thursday. This development comes after the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August.

She highlighted the impact of this air brigade not only in Nigeria but across Africa, “Our Entebbe-Lagos flight is the gateway to immense opportunities. It connects Uganda and Nigeria through business, tourism, culture, entertainment and more.”

UNDP Uganda Resident Representative Elsie Attafuah expressed her excitement at the milestone saying, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to connect more within the continent and create more opportunities for trade. This is an airbridge for trade, for jobs, for wealth creation, and for ensuring Africa takes its rightful place in the global world.”

The decision to introduce a direct flight from Entebbe to Lagos comes as Uganda Airlines strives to expand its network and increase connectivity within Africa. With the new route, travelers will now have easy access to one of Africa’s most populous and vibrant cities.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo

Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) has applauded Uganda Airlines CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki and her team for the initiative. “This new direct route to Nigeria has significant implications for promoting exports and enhancing trade relations between the two countries. The new route offers immense opportunities for Ugandan businesses to expand their export activities into one of Africa’s largest economies.” Noted Rwabwogo.

He further notes that Ugandan products, such as agricultural commodities, textiles, handicrafts, and processed foods, have a competitive advantage in terms of quality and uniqueness. “With the direct connection, these goods can now reach Nigerian consumers and businesses more quickly and reliably. This increased accessibility will raise the profile of Ugandan exports in Nigeria and pave the way for stronger bilateral trade ties.”

H.E Ismael Ayobami Alatis with Uganda Airlines team

H.E. Ismael Ayobami Alatis, Nigerian High Commissioner to Uganda has encouraged Ugandans to visit Nigeria and take advantage of the incredible market potential that is there.

The move reinforces Uganda Airlines’ commitment to becoming a leading carrier in the region. Since its relaunch in 2019, the airline has steadily expanded its network and upgraded its fleet, which now includes two brand new Airbus A330neo aircraft. The addition of the Lagos route is another milestone in its ambitious growth plans.

The launch of the direct flight comes at a time when African nations are seeking to boost intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services across the continent, fostering economic integration and enabling African countries to trade among themselves more easily.

The direct flight will also provide a convenient connection for passengers traveling from other parts of the world. With Entebbe International Airport serving as a regional hub, passengers from Europe, the Americas, and Asia can now easily reach Lagos with a seamless transfer in Uganda. This will undoubtedly boost Uganda’s standing in the global aviation industry and further enhance its reputation as a gateway to Africa.

Uganda Airlines will operate flights to Nigeria three times a week with flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, using its 258-seat state-of-the-art Airbus A330-800neo.

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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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Uganda-Algeria Trade and Investment MoU presents opportunities for both countries

The Uganda-Algeria Trade and Investment Forum & Exhibition took place last week from 30th September to 2nd October at Hotel Africana in Kampala as a follow up to the directive made by Presidents; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda and Abdelmadjid Tebboune of the People’s Republic of Algeria in March 2023 where the latter led a delegation of 150 business people and entrepreneurs from Uganda for a business forum in Algiers.  

Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa

Hon. Francis Mwebesa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and Hon Tayeb Zitouni Minister of Trade and Export Promotion for Algeria held Bilateral discussions and officially opened the first ever Uganda-Algeria business forum witnessing the signing of an MoU between the two chambers of commerce and later the establishment of the Uganda-Algeria Business Council that will spearhead and oversee trade between the two countries.

Geraldine Ssali, Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives

The forum was attended by Hon Francis Mwebesa, Hon Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture, Geraldine Ssali, Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Trade, Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), Hon. John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Harriet Ntabazi, Minister of State for Trade, MS. Olive Kigongo-President of Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry among other prominent leaders.

Odrek rwabwogo, Chairman- Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development

Hon Teyeb Zitouni leader of the Algerian delegation was accompanied by Mr. Kamel Moula-President of the Algerian Economic Renewal Council Employers Foundation, Mr. Zaoui Hoicine, Director General Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Ms. Ahlem Rahmani, Deputy Director in the Algerian Ministry of Trade and Export Promotion among others.

H.E. Oualid Cherid-Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Algeria to Uganda

The forum was also attended by Uganda’s Ambassador to Algeria H.E Alintuma Nsambu, Algeria’s Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Oualid Cherif, senior Government officials and captains of industries and private sector from both countries.

Uganda’s Ambassador to Algeria, Alinyuma Nsambu

The ministers restated the commitment of their respective countries in resolving challenges to businesses in Uganda and Algeria, among these are;

  1. Strengthening corporate relations between private sector and governments
  2. Strengthening trade business linkages for favorable balance of trade between Uganda and Algeria
  3. Removal of all trade barriers and enhancement of free movement of goods, services, capital and labour.
  4. Operationalizing of the Algerian Ugandan joint business council established to handle challenges of existing business communities.
  5. Revenue authorities of both countries to hold regular meeting with the private sector to address challenges.
  6. Accelerating processes of mutual recognition of standards and compliances for goods and services.( A draft agreement was drafted and was submitted by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to  IANOR in this regard).

The following are the commitments welcomed by the forum;

  1. Bilateral cooperation in the field of education as one of the strategies of consolidating Uganda’s human resource development efforts with an addition of 500 scholarships.
  2. Further discussions to implement visa free entry between Uganda and Algeria in partial realization of the African continental free trade area (AFCTA)
  3. Direct air linkage between Uganda and Algeria to facilitate trade through conclusion of a Bilateral Air services agreement (BASA). The ministers agreed that the two countries can start by using the existing infrastructure of Ethiopian airlines which has direct flights from Addis Ababa to both Entebbe and Algeria.
  4. Rectification of the concluded agreements and memorandum of understanding in the fields of trade, energy, agriculture, animal health tourism, higher education and scientific research
  5. Uganda asked for duty free access for its powdered milk worth USD 700m, coffee, beef, fruits, and tea in line with quality and standard requirements of the Algerian market.
  6. Adhering to the guided trade initiative (GTI) of the African continental free trade area (AFCTA), a frame work for adopting reciprocal tariff offers on the agreed upon products originating and traded between Uganda and Algeria.
These were some of the business people that signed partnership agreements

Through the PACEID frame work, during the Business to Business (B2B) sessions, business deals and partnerships were welcomed;

  1. A poultry factory in Uganda that also produces and packaging materials for poultry products, all eggs produced from this factory to be exported to Algeria in a period of 1 month.
  2. An irrigation and water reservoirs demonstration facility in western and northern Uganda effective immediately.
  3. Collaborations in production and exportation of Shea butter from Uganda to Algeria.
  4. Power distribution and street lighting in northern Uganda

In addition, investment projects in Uganda agreed for further discussions through the joint business council were proposed in the production of pipes, cement, poultry, steel and iron, oil and gas, cosmetics, assembling of cranes and machinery, manufacture of irrigation systems, shoe manufacturing and manufacture of equipment for sewage.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze

Furthermore the two delegations applauded the commitment by 14 Ugandan companies to export to Algeria as well to 17 Algerian companies who agreed to export products to Uganda, the Algerian delegation appreciated the government of Uganda on its progress and its promotion of the and exploitation of the oil and gas industry during a tour of the Kabalega Industrial Park located in Albertine Graben in western Uganda.

The Algerian delegation commended the government of Uganda for convening the Uganda-Algeria trade and investment forum and exhibition, and expressed gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to them, the delegation also appreciated Uganda’s cultural diversity displayed during the welcome working dinner hosted by the Presidential Advisory Committee on exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) on 30th September 2023 at the Sheraton Hotel, Kampala.

PACEID’s Brenda Katarikawe moderating a session during the forum

The sponsors of the forum were; PACEID, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, National Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Housing Finance Bank, African Export Import Bank, Pearl Dairy, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda Marketers Society and other stake holders were applauded by the 2 delegations for their role in the making of the forum possible and further noted that this kind of partnership between the government and the private sector is critical in growing business between the two countries.

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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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Uganda-Algeria Business Forum: Producers and exporters encouraged to embrace Value Addition

Day one of the Uganda-Algeria Trade and Investment Forum & Exhibition kicked off today, Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Hotel Africana with delegates from both countries advocating for value addition and mutual respect for quality requirements. The forum will run throughout the weekend until Monday, October 2, 2023, under the theme; “Harnessing Benefits of AfCTA; Strengthening Bilateral Trade Relations Between Uganda and Algeria”.

The forum is being organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives in partnership with the National Chamber of Commerce, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with support from the Uganda Marketers Society.

Odrek Rwabwogo with Dr. Francis Mwebesa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives

The Uganda Algeria-Business and Investment Forum aims to unite trade & investment policymakers, key business groups, trade institutions, and regional organizations from both Uganda and Algeria.

Geraldine Ssali, Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives thanked the Algerian government for their cordiality. “Whenever we come to Algeria, we feel at home. I began to say Algeria is a home away from home for me. Thank you so much. We would like you to also feel at home.” she said.

Geraldine Ssali-Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives

She also expressed willingness to give Algerians free economic zones so that they can enjoy competitive prices from Ugandan producers so they don’t feel the pinch of high costs of production when they come.

“If we work with Algeria, gone will be the days of looking for a funder for our oil because they are self-sufficient in the oil and gas sector.” H.E. Alintuma Nsambu, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to Algeria noted.

H.E. Oualid Cherid-Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Algeria to Uganda

H.E. Oualid Cherif, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Algeria to Uganda was pleased that the efforts between the two countries were crowned with the holding of what he referred to as a ‘historical’ forum. “This development comes as a translation of the strong will demonstrated by our two heads of state, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Mr. Yoweri Museveni, to further enhance these relations in the commercial and investment fields. Like Uganda, Algeria advocates for value addition to its raw materials and the diversification of its economy and its earnings by promoting the non-hydrocarbon exports and boosting the local production of goods and services,” he said.  

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo

Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman- of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development reiterated H.E. Oualid’s point regarding value addition as this will go a long way to boost trade relations between the two nations.

He also urged Ugandan exporters to be intentional by researching new markets to avoid entering them blindly.  “We need to be very intentional, very deliberate from studying the tastes & preferences of our brothers in Algeria & other markets we want to export to & ensure we know what to supply them in terms of standards, quantities and certification”. PACEID is tasked with growing Uganda’s exports to USD6Bn by 2028.

PACEID’s Odrek Rwabwogo with National Chamber of Commerce’s Olive Kigongo

The President of the National Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Olive Kigongo encouraged Ugandan business people to explore Algeria and discover the opportunities it offers to gain a competitive advantage.

Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries said, “Opportunities abound in Uganda. We invite you not only to engage in trade with us but also to actively participate in the value-addition process.”

Miss Ndstefai Khaoula from the Algerian Investment Promotion Agency guided Ugandan traders through the company registration process for trading with Algeria, including the duration of the investment period offered to licensees. “The Algerian Investment Promotion Agency is actively engaged in promoting investment, providing information, streamlining registration procedures, and managing the associated benefits.” – she said.

Miss Ndstefai Khaoula from the Algerian Investment Promotion Agency

Others present were Dr. Francis Mwebesa- Cabinet Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Harriet Ntabazi, Amb. Katureebe Tayebwa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba-State Minister of State for Regional Affairs.

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700 graduate with skills for industry and exports

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) in conjunction with the Department of Industrial Training (DIT) at the Ministry of Education and Sports, on Saturday, graduated 700 people in the fields of fruit processing, vanilla growing and packing, plumbing and electrification, carpentry and joinery, liquid and bar soap making and mushroom growing. Other services included hair dressing, effluent extraction and treatment, baking technology and application, media and photography. The function which was attended by Patrick Byakatonda, Director General of DIT, Sheikhs Serunjogi and Mohammed Kyazze of Kayunga and Kawempe respectively, Bishop Lwandasa of Mt. Lebanon church in Mukono, took place at Kawempe Muslim Primary School in Kampala.

Odrek Rwabwogo presided over the graduation at Kawempe Muslim Primary School

Presiding over the graduation ceremony which brought together students from Tororo, Amuru, Mbarara, Masaka, Jinja, Kamuli and Kampala districts, Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of PACEID, thanked minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni for allowing DIT to skill people who would otherwise be left out of the system yet are very good employees in the export and industry services or being own job makers. “I thank her for recognizing these skills of talented youth who ordinarily feel left out by Ivy League universities and technical colleges that their parents cannot afford”, he said.  He added, “it will take Africa some high-level investment in 25 training institutions of the size of Makerere University annually to be set up and funded for the next 50 years, in order for Africa catch up with the level of industrial and tertiary skills penetration India alone has gained in the last 30 years! How shall we then make it and compete in the world for the 200 million jobs that China is shedding off by 2040 to lower-level manufacturing, if we do not see these soft skills and certify them so they can be recognized globally?” Rwabwogo asked.

Rwabwogo went on, “it is even feels more special to us as PACEID to be graduating these young people to support our effort on aggregation and low-level processing of products for exports like vanilla, avocado, and pineapples from here in Kawempe. This area (Kawempe and Bwaise) along with Kasokoso (Kireka-Banda) along with Mulago and Kamwokya, seem to attract more rural to urban migration than many parts of the city. How will our country make use of this agricultural labour flocking into cities in search of better living conditions yet end up in slums and some in crime? We must be intentional in re-skilling them to do a better job than where they come from?”

Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman PACEID

He said Africa will be the most urbanizing continent in the world with 500 million Africans living in cities by 2040, according to the latest Mckinsey and company, a global consulting firm, report and Uganda remains one of the highest population growing countries in the world with over 70 percent below 30.

Byakatonda said, “The DIT certificates you receive today are really the ground level qualification to start with. You must put the skills gained here and use this certificate for both finding work or looking to start your own businesses. You however, need to keep training so that you get a higher-level certification”. Referring to Mr. Ahmed Kiggundu of the Glad 18 group based in Bwaise, who graduated in specialized cesspool emptying for crowded parts of the city, Byakatonda added, “we certify services such as National water and sewerage service workers. There is no reason why you as Glad 18, shouldn’t now find work across the country in emerging urban areas”.

Ahmed Kiggundu told the audience, “I had been a stone thrower and a collector of old tyres for burning in the streets during riots and giving hard time to security services until I discovered I could do something, even if it was dirty as emptying toilets, but it gives me legitimate income. Now I am very happy that I have a certificate along with 150 other members of my group.”

PACEID and DIT promised to go across the country and train more youths to support aggregating products for exports and getting better labour services for factories and the service sector in urban areas. President Yoweri Museveni under the state house skilling programme has been giving equipment and machinery for organized groups to improve their skills and trade on the domestic market better.

Sheikh Kyazze, the son of Sheikh Swaibu Semakula the first Mufti of Uganda, who began the school in 1920, asked the Government to prioritize rehabilitation of the school and the mosque as some of the national historical centers for the country’s tourism and education. “I call upon our beloved President Yoweri Museveni whose friend, the late Zubairi Bakari was one of the religious children of Sheikh Swaibu Semakula, to help us complete the portion of the mosque that requires UGX150m” said Sheikh Kyaaze.

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