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PACEID attracts investment in the cotton sector from China

ENPING, China:

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) trade and export delegation visiting China over the weekend held an inspection tour of one of China’s largest integrated textile plants and asked the owners to channel part of their operation in Uganda under incentives that will allow them to supply the Africa market. The Kamhing Textile Company owned by Mr. Tai Chin Wen with his family and listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange has annual revenues of USD600m and processes 100million kilograms of cotton from lint, yarn, and fabric including knitting, printing, dying, and sells to western retail outlets such as Macy’s, Target, Walmart in the US and high fashion sports brands such as Nike and Adidas.

“We do not know much about Uganda and Africa and how to invest there, especially in a delicate product like cotton fabrics. We are not sure about water because we use a lot of steam, the levels of electricity stability, and the overall safety and security of the continent. If you can guarantee these things, we would consider a visit to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Government to source cotton and produce fabrics for the market there” said Mr. Tai Chin. Kamhing Textile Factory has product outlets on over 300 acres handling an integrated textile production, supplying Africa, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and many parts of Asia. “We can invest in phases if there are certain guarantees,” said Mr. Dai, General Manager of the company. The company which employs 5000 people has production facilities in Enping and Guangzhou regions in the southwest of China, with headquarters in Hong Kong.

Odrek Rwabwogo and Brenda Opus from PACEID touring the textile plant

Odrek Rwabwogo who led the nine-person delegation including Ambassador Kiema Kilonzo, Brenda Opus, Allan Mugisha, Joshua Akandwanaho, Enock Isingoma, and others, assured the company saying that “Uganda is at a critical stage of production increases of all agricultural commodities, a young and highly educated labor force and electricity provision at only USD5cents for manufactures. Next year, when we begin production of oil, we anticipate the beginning of a thriving petrol chemical industry that will provide us with dyes for printing for the cotton industry. If you invest today, you are an early bird and President Museveni will offer you all fiscal and market protection to give the country scale in this sector”.

Uganda’s per capita consumption of fabric per annum is 6 meters and total consumption is about 276million square meters, spending substantial amounts of foreign exchange importing used clothing. Both Fine Spinners and Nytil cotton factories in Kampala do not make a significant difference in domestic cloth consumption for imports, giving space for more large-scale investments in the sector to drive productivity at farm and firm levels.

PACEID aims to attract investment in the value chains of the products the country has set its sights on raising USD 6Bn in external earnings in the next five years.

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China’s Benton Technologies to set up an assembly facility for one million laptop computers for schools in Uganda

Benton Technologies Company, one of Shenzhen’s leading manufacturers of laptop computers, tablets, desktops, and makers of educational software will be investing USD30m in an assembly and production plant of one million laptops and tablets for Uganda’s primary and secondary schools. The company officials led by Mr. Li Kaifu and Mr. Victor Zhang on Saturday conducted the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) delegation in their high-level 20,000 square meter manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Shenzhen city of Guangdong province. The facility employs 300 people and produces 2000 units per day.

PACEID’s nine-person trade and export delegation comprising of government and private sector officials, was led by Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo. The team was in China to conduct buyer-seller sessions for Ugandan agro-industrial products for the China market and attract investments in food and mineral processing in Uganda. Shenzhen town, which is close to Hong Kong, is one of China’s fastest-growing electronics and export centers in the world. PACEID hopes to attract Chinese wholesale and distribution companies for Uganda’s food products. Uganda has a target of new USD6bn in five years from coffee, grains, dairy, beef, bananas, poultry, fruits and vegetables, tourism, cement, steel, and some others from the thirteen key products the government is focusing on. PACEID has set a target of USD100bn work of exports by 2062 when Uganda makes a century as an independent country.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo during a meeting with officials from Benton Technologies Company

Benton Technologies, said Mr. Li Kaifu, “integrates design, research, and development and is a producer of high-quality products in the computing industry for schools and institutions” He said, “It is a great opportunity to partner with Uganda and fulfill the vision of President Yoweri Museveni to add value to your mineral products by assembling some of our products in Uganda”. He added, “Uganda has provided good incentives to us and if we keep to the schedule, we should be able to bring in some inputs and assemble as soon as practicable”.

The company which sells its products to Amazon, AT&T, Rakuten, and Target Retail, some of the largest retailers and telecommunications providers in the USA, visited Uganda in January this year and met President Museveni who requested them to fulfill the vision of a growing computing industry to support manufacturing in Uganda. The company produces seven- and fourteen-inch children’s tablets for schools, mini personal computers, Point of sales (POS) machines, and conference projection equipment. 

Benton Technologies supplies 30 percent of its products to the US market,15 percent to Africa and the rest to the EU and South America market. It has 31 international customers including the governments of Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Kenya and Tanzania. The computing chip sets the company uses are made in partnership with USA’s Qualcomm and South Korea’s Samsung. Odrek Rwabwogo told the Benton Technologies team, “Uganda needs to graduate from the importation of PCs and tablets which cost us more than USD160m annually, and begin assembly and eventual manufacturing of these items in the country.

“The cables, circuit boards, plastic coverings, packaging material, can all be produced in Uganda if we are disciplined and enforce standards and stop taking manufacturing with a sense of casualness”. He added, “I am impressed that the village of Shenzhen of forty years ago, where Deng Xiaoping passed in 1992 before retiring and said China will never be poor again, now receives orders of high-level products from all over the world and it is an excellent city to work and live. I believe that our country too can do this very soon if we keep focused”

Odrek Rwabwogo touring Benton Technologies Company facility

Rwabwogo urged Benton Technologies to think through a full value proposition to Uganda incorporating energy solutions for the laptops to village schools, and internet accessibility to facilitate studies for studies and repairs and maintenance online. He also asked to think through a good distribution network that ensures products reach students and schools on time and are kept in good working condition for at least six years.

On Sunday, the PACEID delegation traveled to the region of Xiamen to meet coffee processors and other commodity off-takers.

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PACEID roots for market entry of Ugandan products into China

By Victor Musiimenta

In Guangzhou 

A nine person Uganda trade and exports delegation led by Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), on Friday April 26th, 2024, rallied several Chinese agro-industrial companies that are product off-takers and investors in Guangzhou, Guangdong province of China, to focus on Uganda as a source of good agricultural products. 

The meeting which was attended by over 80 product buyers, investors in agriculture, mining, electronics, logistics and education services was held at the Oriental Resort Hotel just outside Shenzhen city. Rwabwogo praised the leadership of China since 1949 for providing a good example to developing countries on how to restore a nation, make it rich and strong saying, “city of Shenzhen which began experimentation with the Free zones export idea in the 1990s has led China’s economic resurgence and growth in the last 40 years”. The event was co-hosted by the Institute of African studies of the Guangdong university of foreign studies and CN light technologies, manufacturers of LED screens, computers, electronics and household goods. The event coincided with the annual Canton trade fair in China which takes place from April in the city of Shenzhen.

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo in China

Speaking at the event, Prof. Liu Jisen, head of the Institute of African studies challenged Ugandan producers to ensure sustainability of supplies they promise to China. “We are working with importation of beef from Zambia. Why would we not try Ugandan beef? It is because we are not sure that even when you fulfill standards required in China, you will sustain the import demand here. China demands more food products and your consistency will be an issue if you do not plan ahead” he said. Prof. Liu asked how many products entry protocols Uganda has signed with China and requested to sign an understanding with the Ministry of Education’s Department of Industrial Training (DIT) in order to improve skills for Ugandan exporters. Uganda has Quota free duty-free product entry into China for more than 90 percent of her agricultural products but few protocols on standards and compliance measures on food safety have been signed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries.

China which exports more than USD1.3bn annually to Uganda has made a case for Uganda’s avocados, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, Sesame, coffee, dried chili peppers, macadamia, castor oil and seeds, sorghum, cocoa and many more products but few Ugandan firms have been able to supply them. Uganda last year sold less than USD100m to China. The airport of Baiyun in Guangzhou handles more than 26million passengers and over 1.8million tones annually. The city and port of Guangzhou is one of the top ten import centers for China. Rwabwogo who presented the history of the trade relations with Asia from the year 1455 with Africa and the current changes Government of Uganda through PACEID has instituted to drive the target of USD6bn, assured the buyers of Uganda’s capacity to use export credit funding for firms that get orders. 

He said “we are improving the phytosanitary standards for our food products, modernizing our laws and regulations and their enforcement and also establishing trade representation in key markets. These are some of the new measures President Yoweri Museveni is applying to remove doubts from buyers of our food”. He added, “we are creating critical awareness about Uganda as a good source of products because of the reforms we are making in infrastructure such as energy, roads and water to reduce production costs for firms and improve the business environment”. Uganda has lately experienced a surge in production of commodities such as coffee, dairy and beverages and Government is investing approximately USD400m annually in Parish development model (PDM) to spur more household production. PACIED aims at connecting markets to the Uganda makes and encourages young people to use new technological channels to trade in the external markets being opened”. PACEID which works as a catalyst for ministries and departments of government that deal with exports and manufacturing, is building export product consortiums at regional level in order to make it easier for aggregators, transporters, financiers and investors in Agri value addition to source easier from Uganda.

The Uganda Consul General to Guangzhou, Dr. Judith Nsababeera who attended the PACEID buyer-seller summit, said, “We are building our own headquarters here for the embassy and we will work with PACEID to have an information centre and Trade Hub for Uganda products”. Uganda sells through Hong Kong small volumes of meat products including Fish maws, casein (ingredient of milk), coffee and grains such as simsim and more. The meeting which was attended by packaging, mining and electrical companies also had firms such as the Guangdong import and export company, wire and cable manufactures, Tourism related firms led by Kenten Structures Limited that specializes in large exhibitions, logistics and many others. 

Earlier in the day, the Ugandan delegation met the provincial government officials of Guangdong and visited CN lights company, meeting with senior officials of the firm. The delegation was conducted around the manufacturing facility which makes LED lights and solar panels. The company is investing more than USD30m in the next five years in an assembly and production plant for tablet computers, solar lights and other household appliances in Uganda. CN light which began in 1992, is listed on the stock exchange in Shanghai. It is led by Mr. Watson Chai and Mr. Dai Jen Wei. It has subsidiaries in production of textiles and fabrics, electronics, data security and computing. The company signed a memorandum of Understanding with PACEID to pursue the search for off takers of Ugandan products and investors in mining and agriculture.

The PACEID team which includes Ambassador Kiema Kilonzo consultant on regional trade and officials from NITA, will today, Saturday visit Foshan region to inspect computer production plants, textile companies and meet retailers of agricultural products.

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