Category: Press Stories

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Museveni to host luncheon honoring legacy of late Jacob Oulanyah

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is set to host a luncheon to pay tribute to Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament, for his dedication and commitment to public service. The event will double as a Mentorship awards ceremony for twenty (20) men and women who have diligently served and contributed to the development of Uganda in their respective fields.

This was revealed on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 at a press briefing at the Kampala Serena Hotel organized by Odrek Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor- Special Duties.  

Friends and relatives of former Speaker Jacob Oulanyah in a group photo after the press briefing

At the event themed, ‘Modeling the right behaviour for the youth of Africa in the 21st century’, Rwabwogo, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), announced that the recipients of the Mentorship/Leadership Awards for 2024 will be unveiled at the luncheon scheduled for Thursday, March 28th, 2024 at State House-Entebbe.

These prestigious awards aim to recognize individuals who have shown exceptional service and leadership in their respective fields, making a significant positive impact on Uganda’s development.

Rwabwogo waxed lyrical about Oulanyah noting that the late has become a role model for many young people in Uganda, serving as an inspiration through his integrity and principled leadership. “His influence extends beyond Uganda’s borders, as Oulanyah’s leadership style has become a template for leaders across the African continent. As Uganda moves forward, it is inspiring to see individuals like Jacob Oulanyah and the award recipients leading the way. Their integrity and principled approach to leadership serve as guiding lights for future generations, driving them to strive for excellence and make a difference in their respective fields.” Rwabwogo stated.

The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon Norbert Mao drew bouts of laughter from the audience as he satirically reminisced about the good times he spent with Oulanyah going as far back as university at Makerere University when they were laying foundations for their political careers. “Jacob was confident and that is why he went for the positions he occupied. It goes to show that God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen. On March 28, 2024, President Museveni will host the Mentorship Luncheon at State House, Entebbe. H.E. continues the journey of sowing the mustard seed. You don’t have to be NRM to be a believer in the values that Museveni stands for. I am one of those who have caused him a great headache. His mission is to gather true believers from everywhere because they serve Uganda. We want to thank the President for agreeing to host this event and honor Jacob (Oulanyah) and the other twenty men and women who have served the country exceptionally.”

Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao

Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director at Uganda Media Centre urged all aspiring young leaders to emulate Oulanyah in whatever career they choose. “He was a man of integrity, was fierce and courageous but most importantly he was principled.”

Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah the Omoro Country Member of Parliament and the Late’s son revealed how Oulanyah was a wonderful father who will forever be missed and that his legacy shall live on.

Uganda Media Centre Executive Director Ofwono Opondo with Hon. Andrew Ojok, son to the late Jacob Oulanyah

The announcement fell on the day that marks two years since the former Speaker of Parliament passed on, March 20, 2022.

Atim Karen Oulanyah, the daughter of the late thanked Rwabwogo for the initiative that is shining a spotlight on her father’s legacy. “Please, let us celebrate the man that he was and aspire to be like him”.

Atim Karen Oulanyah, daughter to Jacob Oulanyah speaks at the briefing

Matthew Bagonza revealed how blessed he is to have shared some wonderful moments with Jacob, “Jacob Oulanyah spoke peace. He trusted people. That is the kind of man he was. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for sparing time to attend this event that is honoring the legacy of the late Speaker, and also recognizing other men and women who have contributed immensely to the growth of Uganda.”

Matthew Bagonza, Head of Secretariat- Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development

In his concluding remarks, Rwabwogo explained the purpose of this year’s theme which is to build better role models for the youth, not only in Uganda but Africa at large. “The purpose of this theme is to encourage and build better role models in Africa for the youth who often draw examples from the rest of the world, especially with the pervasive internet and its social media, without a robust cultural and ideological interest that seeks to build Africa. The topic will cover economic change, and political and social tools required to prepare the continent for competition in the 21st century.”

Brenda Ker, Press Secretary to the late Jacob Oulanyah

Others present at the press briefing were Oulanyah’s relatives and colleagues including; Brenda Ker, the late’s Press Secretary, and John Paul Kiffasi from Irene Gleeson Foundation representing many youths who were mentored by the former Speaker of Parliament among many others.

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Success requires a positive attitude and the right mindset- Rwabwogo to Bunyoro Sub-Region graduates

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Odrek Rwabwogo has encouraged the graduates of an industrial skilling program not to be afraid of failure, to cultivate a positive attitude, and to develop the right mindset to succeed in their chosen fields. This was on Friday 23rd February 2024 at Duhaga Secondary School playground in Hoima City where 6112 individuals from Bunyoro Sub-Region graduated in various fields after completing a six-month Skilling Program.

The 6112 individuals were awarded certificates in various fields including; piggery, fish farming, fruit farming, bricklaying, baking/cooking, photography, radio and television presenting, computer application, tailoring, motor vehicle mechanics, goat farming, music and soap farming among many others.

The skilling program is an initiative of the collaboration between PACEID and the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) under the Ministry of Sports and Education.

Rwabwogo, who was the Chief Guest, shared personal experiences to inspire the graduates and emphasized the importance of learning from failures and bouncing back stronger, rather than being disheartened by setbacks. “Achieving success requires a positive attitude and a mindset that refuses to quit. PACEID recognizes the potential of the Bunyoro Sub-region in contributing to Uganda’s export sector, and has designed this program to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in various industrial sectors and contribute to the growth of export-driven economies.”

He urged the graduates to view failure as an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement, rather than a reason to give up on their dreams. “Failure is not the end of the road but a stepping stone towards success,” Rwabwogo said passionately. “Do not be afraid to take risks and face failure head-on. It is through failure that we learn valuable lessons and can grow as individuals.”

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda, the Director-DIT thanked PACEID for their efforts in enhancing participants’ employability and enabling them to seamlessly transition into the workplace. “This approach aligns with the principal goal of the initiative, which is to foster economic growth by nurturing a skilled and competent workforce in the Bunyoro Sub-region. By leveraging each other’s strengths, DIT and PACEID aim to create a robust and complex training curriculum that addresses the specific requirements of different industrial sectors within the Bunyoro Sub-region and the entire country.”

DIT Director Dr. Patrick Byakatonda

Dr. Byakatonda further encouraged the graduates to upgrade their skills to higher vocational-level competencies to compete better in the global market.

Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, the State Minister for Public Service applauded PACEID and DIT for the skilling initiative that saw thousands of individuals get certified and pledged to support the cause whenever she is called upon. “This skilling program will create a lasting impact on the industrial landscape of Bunyoro Sub-region. We are grateful that our people are going to be certified and be recognized at an international level.”

Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, State Minister for Public Service addresses graduates

Matthew Bagonza, the Head of the Secretariat at PACEID cautioned the graduates about keeping discipline and urged them to aim for higher rewards. He expressed gratitude to all who contributed to the successful completion of the training and assessment in Bunyoro. “Today’s graduation ceremony serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication of the program participants, as well as the successful collaboration between PACEID and DIT. Thank you Dr. Byakatonda and your team.”

Head of PACEID Secretariat Matthew Bagonza salutes the graduates

As the chairman of PACEID, Rwabwogo continues to inspire and empower individuals in Uganda to strive for success and contribute to the country’s overall economic growth.

By equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the global marketplace, the initiative aims to unlock the region’s economic potential and pave the way for a prosperous future.

The graduation ceremony was attended by a considerable number of prominent leaders in the Bunyoro Sub-region including; Rev. Fr. Dominic Ndugwa Ateenyi, Rev. Francis Mugisa Amooti, Hon. George Tinka Amooti, Hon. Muhanuli Bosco Amooti, Sheik Musa Atwooki, Hon. Lawrence Bategeka Ateenyi, Bakutaga Andrew Ateenyi, Magara Fitz Gerald John Ateenyi and many others at different levels.

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PACEID and DIT empower Mukono with 4675 skilled graduates 

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) have graduated 4675 students in various fields in Mukono. The graduates successfully completed a six-month competency certificate training program. 

Held under the theme ‘Skilling for Industrial Development: Promoting Employable Skills’, the graduation ceremony took place on Thursday 25/01/2024 at Mukono Boarding Primary School in Mukono Municipality with PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo officiating as the Chief Guest.

The program aims to equip individuals with the necessary skills to promote industrial development and increase exports.

Students were certified in various fields including; electrical engineering, piggery, brick laying, coffee farming, poultry farming, tailoring, rabbit husbandry, photography, soap making, art and crafts designing, carpentry, motorcycle maintenance and styling among others. During the six-month program based on a modular competency framework, PACEID and DIT devised a comprehensive curriculum that covers both theory and practical aspects.

Rwabwogo congratulated the students for successfully completing the skilling program noting that it marks a special milestone in their journey towards self-reliance and professional growth. “The skills and knowledge you have acquired in various fields will undoubtedly open doors of opportunity for you in the job market and contribute to the overall development of our nation. As graduates of this program, you are now equipped with the necessary skills to excel in your chosen field. Remember that learning doesn’t stop here, it is a lifelong process.” Rwabwogo told the graduates. 

He revealed that the collaboration between PACEID and DIT underscores the government’s commitment to fostering a skilled workforce capable of driving industrial growth. 

“Today is an important day to bring to fruition the collaboration the collaboration between PACEID and DIT, you can hear the word ‘Industry’ in both. We cannot attract investments, factories into the country if we don’t have qualified labour. But we also cannot train all the skills we need in such a short time because it is expensive. When DIT looks at the work of exports and ties it to industry and trains and certifies people in a short time on basic skills; how to rare chickens for exports, how to run a farm. These are basics but they are a very good start. When you certify these kinds of skills, they can carry these to factories and find work but also make it easier for people to find a little bit trained labour than rushing to universities which are often theoretical.” Rwabwogo noted while also emphasizing the national collective ethic.  

Rwabwogo further expressed appreciation to DIT headed by Dr. Patrick Byakatonda for the collaboration and support through the program stating that it is through these partnerships that we can create meaningful change and transform lives of many. 

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda- Director of the Directorate of Industrial Training thanked the trainers and instructors who worked tirelessly to impart knowledge and expertise in the graduates. 

He congratulated the students while cautioning them of the challenges ahead. “As we celebrate this milestone, let us not forget the challenges thar lie ahead. The industrial landscape is constantly evolving, and it is imperative that we continue to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, I encourage you (graduates) to never stop learning and to continuously upgrade your skills.” Dr. Byakatonda told the graduates during his speech. 

The chief mobilizer for the training program in greater Mukono, Pastor Samuel Lwandasa highlighted the importance of this initiative and its positive impact on the beneficiaries and the community at large. He further applauded Rwabwogo and PACEID team for the efforts in reducing poverty through skills development. 

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Uganda, South Sudan to harmonize standards to enhance cross border trade

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) together with the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) are set to harmonise sampling, test methods and certification processes to enhance bi-lateral trade between Uganda and South Sudan. The resolution is one of the many reached at, during a meeting between the two National Standards Bodies held on 11th January 2024, in Nimule.

The engagement led by both the UNBS Ag. Executive Director Mr. Nangalama Daniel Richard Makayi and the SSNBS Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hon. Dr. Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel, came after a recent standoff between Uganda and South Sudan over maize exports from Uganda, which saw a Joint Ugandan Delegation led by the Senior Presidential Advisor and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo travel to Elegu-Nimule, in 2023 to negotiate release of impounded Ugandan Trucks with maize grain and flour in South Sudan.

Since then, UNBS embarked on batch sampling and laboratory analysis of maize grain and flour   exports to S. Sudan in designated sampling yards in Central (Afrokai in Matugga), Eastern (Uhuru Parking, Mbale) and Northern Uganda (Layibi in Gulu), utilising the UNBS Central and regional testing laboratories. Since this intervention, 346 out of the 367 samples representing 94.2% of the total maize flour samples analysed, complied with the standard requirements and were from 23 companies certified by UNBS.

The two National Standards Bodies have thus agreed that;

  • All products covered by Compulsory Standards including cereals and cereal products  (mainly maize flour) must be certified by UNBS prior to being exported to South Sudan from Uganda.
  • A Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) certificate from competent authorities in Uganda MUST accompany other products exported to South Sudan like fruits and vegetables, dairy products like fresh milk and yorghurt, chicken and chicken products, fish and fish products.
  • A technical team from the two standards bodies to be set up to harmonise sampling, test methods and certification processes, among other resolutions.

UNBS has since urged all manufacturers and traders intending to export goods to South Sudan to ensure that they undergo the UNBS Certification process and obtain a certification permit and a SPS certificate from a competent authority where applicable, for the smooth flow of their goods and services to South Sudan.

UNBS is tasked with enforcing standards to protect the health and safety of consumers and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products as well as, ensuring fairness in trade and strengthening the economy of Uganda by assuring the quality of locally manufactured products to enhance the competitiveness of exports in regional and international markets.

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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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PACEID Loses Valued Partner as UNDP Uganda’s Elsie Attafuah Departs

It was an evening of mixed emotions as Ms. Elsie Attafuah, the Ugandan United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative, bid farewell to the country after her four and a half years’ tour of duty came to an end. In a heartfelt farewell dinner held at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel on Thursday evening, speakers celebrated her remarkable achievements and contributions towards the nation’s development agenda while at the same time expressed a genuine sense of sadness at her departure. 

Attafuah leaves Uganda to head the UNDP program in Nigeria, a country with the biggest economy in Africa.

Elsie Attafuah with UNDP Uganda Deputy Resident Rep Sheila Ngatia and Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) team; Brenda K. Opus, Head of Markets, Allan Mugisha- Team Lead Infrastructure and Rowland Bon Nkahebwa- Communications attended the farewell dinner to honor Ms. Attafuah, following the end of her successful tenure. Recognizing her immense dedication and transformative impact, PACEID expresses gratitude for her service and commemorates her achievements.

Attafuah’s work aligned closely with PACEID’s objectives, as her initiatives within the UNDP focused on advancing sustainable development, poverty reduction, and promoting environmental responsibility. In August 2023, UNDP Uganda partnered with PACEID to launch an export preparedness training programme designed to help Ugandan exporters successfully penetrate the highly competitive US market considering it offers tremendous opportunities for businesses looking to expand their reach given their USD18trillion consumer expenditure.

The farewell dinner, attended by senior government officials, heads of different UN agencies in Uganda, prominent private sector players and prominent individuals, celebrated Attafuah’s accomplishments during her tenure as UNDP Uganda Country Representative.

UNDP Uganda Deputy Resident Representative Sheila Ngatia thanked guests for honouring Attafuah before waxing lyrical about her passion and deep affection for Uganda. “It’s hard to imagine it’s four and a half years since she assumed her role in Uganda. It’s a time of mixed feelings. She has often asked important questions and positively challenged us to be bold, visionary and seek to end poverty in Uganda and the continent. Attafuah is passionate and deeply affectionate about the Pearl of Africa. We would have wished her to stay longer but such is the nature of our work. I am proud that she heads to Nigeria, the country with Africa’s biggest economy where she will become Uganda’s tourism ambassador.”

Ugandan banker, economist and academician, Prof. Ezra Suruma delivered the keynote speech at the dinner starting by referring to Attafuah as ‘a distinguished daughter of Africa’. “Thank you for your commitment to improving the lives of the people of Uganda, especially the poor and underprivileged. Thank you for your efforts in skilling the youth and fostering the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Uganda. Please, rest assured that your efforts have not been in vain. We greatly value your selfless efforts to better Uganda and Africa. We are sorry that you must leave us. We wish you a prosperous career in Nigeria. Come back, Uganda will always be your home.”

At the farewell dinner, Attafuah extended her appreciation for the support and collaboration of PACEID and other partners during her time in Uganda. She highlighted the significant progress made in various sectors and reiterated the importance of sustained efforts in realizing Uganda’s economic potential.

“The spirit of partnership with Uganda will endure, I have full confidence in all partners to continue the work we have started. As I leave Uganda and all our development partners, let’s do development unusual with a fire in our belly. For a development agency like UNDP, it’s inevitable to take risks. Let us be bold and ambitious and do something different. I challenge all of us to do things differently.” Attafuah told guests.

She leaves having been honored to serve Uganda saying that it will aways be her home. “Uganda has everything it takes to prosper, and yet people are poor. Let’s disrupt this. We must have a fire in our belly, and that is what has kept UNDP, kept me going. I am deeply thankful to Uganda for the privilege of serving Uganda. My heart is here, Uganda is home.”

Attafuah paid tribute to the government of Uganda and President Yoweri Museveni and UNDP donors including USA, Germany Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, France, Belgium, India, China and Finland among many others.

“As my time comes to bid farewell to Uganda, I find myself celebrating now more than ever Uganda’s spaces, people, ability, renaissance and knowledge – what I term Uganda’s SPARK. In my last 4 years serving this country and her beautiful people, I continue to be enthralled by the people, landscapes, cultures, communities, women, men and young people who have inspired me since my arrival in 2019.” noted Attafuah whose successor will be coming in two weeks’ time.

World Health Organization Representative to Uganda Yonas Tegegn Woldermarian thanked Attafuah for challenging the UN system to deliver on their commitment to help Uganda achieve its development goals. “Attafuah is passionate and Africa requests passion from each of us. We have the duty to do our best for Africa. The Peal of Africa is not only at the center of Africa but at the center our commitment for partnership in Africa. You have shown how passion for development can make a difference.”

Elsie Attafuah with Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Norbert Mao

Justine Kasule Lumumba, Minister in charge of General Duties in the Office of the Office of the Prime Minister represented Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabajja who was the Chief Guest.

Minister of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister Justine Kasule Lumumba represented Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabanjja

Lumumba expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Attafuah before reading out the PM’s speech to guests which recognized the latter’s commitment and love for Uganda.

Nobert Mao- Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Vincent Bagiire- Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Jan Sadek- Ambassador of the European Union to Uganda also gave brief but moving tributes to Attafuah and wished her the best in the next chapter of her career.

Jan Sadek- Ambassador of the European Union to Uganda

Other prominent guests at the event were; Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe- Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Uganda Airlines CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki, Amos Wekesa CEO Great Lakes Safaris and many others attended the farewell dinner.

During the event, UNDP Uganda and partners launched the UNDP Coffee Table Book celebrating 51 years accompanying Uganda’s development agenda.  

Elsie Attafuah’s departure leaves a lasting legacy, but also paves the way for new opportunities and partnerships as the organization moves forward.

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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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Uganda Trade delegation meets US trade representative over proposed AGOA bans

The Uganda trade delegation yesterday met with the US Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Ms. Constance Hamilton and the US special envoy to advance Human rights of the LGBTQI+ people, Jessica Stern. The meeting took place in Washington DC at the office of the US Trade representative, Ms. Catherine Tai. The Uganda delegation which included Dr. Olivier Kamanzi, Uganda trade representative in Chicago and Ambassador Roby Kakonge, was led by Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) and Senior Presidential Adviser on Special Duties.

Rwabwogo made a case for Uganda’s exporters who have for the last 23 years benefited from the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) duty and quota free market access to the US and urged US government not use disproportionate force against an ally whose values and relationship have stayed firm on multiple fronts over the years. “Uganda has not violated any trade or human rights law. We continue under President Yoweri Museveni’s capable leadership to score on economic liberalism, supporting free enterprise, protecting our environment, making laws on food safety and building our trade standards”.

He said, “We have never lost our vigour for protecting minorities, workers and leading the charge on regional stability along with ending extreme poverty to keep our nation stable and growing”. He asked, “How can a government that promotes free enterprise, freed women and gave them education and representation along with people with disabilities and hosts over 1.6m refugees be called a violator of human rights of her people? It is a contradiction of mega proportion”.

Rwabwogo said, “We are your best friends for an open engagement with Africa but this has to be done in a respectful and dignified manner especially, on the matters of freedom and rights that you might have. Our leadership has been defenders and fighters for freedom of African people and all our allies and humanity since 1965”. He said Uganda takes exception at the weekly threats and statements sent against people who want to trade with Uganda or visitors, academicians and person to person exchange. These statements you issue to our allies and trading partners on a monthly basis are unacceptable way to communicate to allies and don’t show good will”.

He asked the US government not mix wrong perceptions picked from data sources that aren’t verifiable with our own systems and leaders and use them to judge us harshly. The US state department has lately issued travel advisories, proposed visa restrictions and threatened to remove Uganda from AGOA list, all in three months.

Rwabwogo said, “The US is an important ally and a big signaling market to us and the world in terms of raising capital and technology for enterprises. At USD 18trillion consumption on this market, there is nowhere else we want to be as Ugandans, the reason we have two trade representatives for Uganda in the Mid-west and why President Museveni visited you in December of 2022”.

He added, “If even some of your adversaries who are super powers keep coming here for conversations, why should Uganda be silent when you seem to want to destroy the little trade shoots that are coming up? These trade shoots give jobs to women and youth entrepreneurs who have boot strapped to build their businesses and should be protected from politics”

Uganda’s and US trade in the last three years averages UGX 1.9trillion (about USD550m) with a heavy trade imbalance in favour of the US that sells to Uganda aircraft parts, computers, used clothing, machine parts, generators etc. Uganda exports coffee, vanilla beans, chocolate, dairy products, fish etc. President Joe Biden in October wrote to the speaker of the US House of representatives, Mike Johnson seeking to terminate Uganda’s eligibility on AGOA list of countries in 2024 on account of the gay act passed by Uganda’s parliament in May. Uganda has increased its efforts for trade with the world aiming at USD 6bn in the next five years. PACEID has a target of USD 1bn on the US market and is opening trade hubs in key markets of the world.

Ms. Hamilton said Uganda’s anti homosexuality law ‘demonizes gay people and goes against the values President Biden’s government adheres to. She said, “words matter and this law and the words it uses horrifies many people in the US”. Rwabwogo explained the context of the law as an effort to protect children from the onslaught of curriculum and content that should not be exposed to minors. He asked for rescinding of the January 2024 deadline to allow for more engagement between the two countries in order to protect trade relations. Jessica Sterns raised concerns on what she called ‘documented attacks on gay people and arrests and property damage which causes fear to gay people’. Ambassador Kakonge agreed to follow up on the report from US special envoy on the human rights of the LGBTQ persons.

Dr Kamanzi, who is helping Uganda in Chicago to raise export credit funding and open markets for Uganda said, “I visit Uganda regularly and I have travelled to all corners of the country and I have not seen the claims being made here being committed in Uganda. On the contrary I live in South Side Chicago and I am an American citizen. I am sadly aware every weekend our city of Chicago loses 55 people to gun violence. Should we not be concerned about our internal US issues rather than using disproportionate power against a small peaceful country? He asked.

Earlier, the Uganda delegation which included exporters of leather bags (Seko designs/Arise Kollections), vanilla (Simons Vanilla), fruits and vegetables (Jacana fruits) were hosted by the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) who invited over 45 corporate business in the US, NGOs, civic groups to explain Uganda’s trade and democracy journey over the also couple of years. Some of the US companies and institutions that attended the meeting included Transformative Energy who are working on green energy projects in Uganda, Boeing Aircraft Corporation, manufacturers of fertilizers, producers of beverages, bankers, lawyers and the Africa Trade Development Center, activists for AGOA extension in Washington DC.

The Uganda delegation met the Hudson institute, members of Congress and address the Press later on Friday.

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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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