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

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

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

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

Technology Associates Chairman Girisch Nair explaining how TradeXchange works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PACEID Executive Committee member Mahmood Hudda

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andreas Nicolaides, Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd CEO and Founder

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

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

Godson Mwesigye, Ag. Assistant Commissioner- URA-Customs

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

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

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

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

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Uganda 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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ODREK-SERBIA

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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