IMPRESSIVE: Rwabwogo tours Masheda Holdings’ state-of-the-art integrated Agro-Tourism Hub

Odrek Rwabwogo, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024, visited and toured Masheda Holdings, a mixed-agricultural farm that doubles as an agro-tourism hub located in Buyala along Mityana Road. Spanning over 25 acres, the Masheda facility houses a diverse ecosystem of operations, including the Masheda Palm Resort, Masheda Mixed Farm for catfish, Masheda Foods, and Nkore Designs by Masheda.

During his tour, Rwabwogo was deeply impressed by the holistic, integrated approach taken by the Masheda Holdings management team. “This is an exemplary facility that showcases the potential of building a comprehensive value chain ecosystem, especially in the catfish industry,” he noted.

The catfish operations at Masheda Palms encompass the entire production cycle, from fingerling rearing to processing, packaging, and even exporting of both smoked and fresh fillets. Rwabwogo applauded the facility’s efficiency and the management’s focus on maximizing the value of each stage of the process.

Marvin Lwasa, Masheda Holdings Executive Director explained that their catfish is farm-raised in an eco-friendly well established fish farm per International standards for farmed fish. “We sustainably produce premium and organic catfish products while prioritizing environmental stewardship, aquaculture welfare, and customer satisfaction,” Marvin states.

Masheda Holdings Executive Director Marvin Lwasa explains to PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo about the packaging process

One aspect that particularly caught Rwabwogo’s attention was the Nkore Designs by Masheda, a workshop where single mothers create beautiful and high-quality crafts from reeds. “It is heartening to see the empowerment of these women, who are using their skills to produce such exquisite products,” he remarked.

Sherinah Nabakooza Ainembabazi, the CEO Finance, says that the Nkore Designs weaving project was born out of the trials faced by many during the COVID-19 country-wide lockdown. “As many lost their jobs and incomes, the single mothers in and around the Buyala community needed to find a source of income to support themselves and their families”.

Sherinah Nabakooza Ainembabazi, the CEO of Finance at Nkore Designs by Masheda (C)

“Nkore Designs supports women by equipping them with a new skill set (weaving) that would also provide them with an income. Through NKORË Designs, we desire to create a sustainable livelihood and a sense of purpose for our surrounding community. Our mission for this business, especially through our impact arm, is to transform the women in our communities into empowered, informed and dignified women. A woman that is elevated and empowered enhances the quality of her own life, the life of her family, and her wider community.”

Odrek Rwabwogo with the single mothers of Nkore Designs by Masheda at the workshop

Rwabwogo expressed his appreciation for the Masheda Holdings team’s vision and execution, stating that the facility serves as a model for integrated agro-tourism hubs that can drive economic development and create sustainable livelihoods.

“This is the kind of forward-thinking, value-adding approach that we need to replicate and scale across the country,” Rwabwogo concluded. “Masheda Holdings is a shining example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurial spirit, technological innovation, and a focus on social impact come together.”

“On behalf of everyone at Masheda Holdings, we would like to extend our thanks to Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo & the PACEID team for taking the time to visit our facilities. Your presence was a great source of inspiration for our team. We deeply appreciate your unwavering commitment to the export promotion of Uganda’s products. Your tireless efforts in this regard are paving the way for producers and exporters like ourselves, and it is such a vision that encourages us to reach new heights. Thank you for your dedication and support, which not only enhances the visibility of Ugandan products on the global stage but also fosters a thriving environment for businesses like ours to grow and succeed.” says Marvin Lwasa, who also doubles as the Managing Director, Masheda Foods.

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Rwabwogo Preaches Unity, Hard Work & Value Addition for Sustainable Growth as over 10, 000 Graduate in Ankole Region

In a moving address, Odrek Rwabwogo, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), challenged over 10,000 graduands from Ankole Region to embrace hard work, persistence, and a focus on value addition and above all, unity, as the cornerstones for sustainable economic growth and industrial development.

Addressing the gathering at the Booma Grounds, Mbarara City on Sunday, May 19, 2024, Rwabwogo commended the graduates for their achievements and encouraged them to see this milestone as the beginning of their journey towards contributing to the nation’s growth.

PACEID in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) facilitated and certified over 10,000 individuals from all the districts of the Ankole Region with a modular category certificate. All these excelled in competence-based industrial assessment after six months.

The graduates were certified in the fields of tailoring, baking, coffee/pig/goat/cattle/bee farming, plumbing, motor vehicle/cycle mechanics, photography, soap and detergent making, dairy processing, mushroom farming, graphic design, computer application, carpentry, embroidery, music, leather design, and banana farming.

Rwabwogo, who arrived for the ceremony in the company of his wife, Patience Rwabwogo, stressed the importance of this training which is to enable more job creators rather than job seekers. “The country has many younger people coming into the employment level but some are not employable. Just graduating doesn’t mean that you are employable, they need a special touch on skilling and attitude. The importance of this training and certification is that you go start your own business and hopefully deal in the 13 products we are involved in for export and hopefully we can catch you on standards, hopefully we can find you a buyer, hopefully we can finance the orders. You have to build each level in order to lead into another.”

He reiterated that it is not enough to merely produce urging the audience to add value to the products and services which enhances their competitiveness in both domestic and global markets.

Rwabwogo also called for unity stating that individualism cannot create industry. “We must work in unity because everybody wants to work on their own in our country. There is no success unless you really bring particular products to create industries. For example, the president launched here(Mbarara) a Tin factory not far from here a month ago. For you to succeed with tin, you must be assembling radios, laptops, and other things. But if you get tin and combine it with copper which we have, then you can make brass. Brass is what we use on bullets and vehicles etc. Industries have to be strong in order for investment to come in. You cannot have one company create an industry, it takes a lot of time. The point of unity is to help us create industries on value addition and processing of those things.”

He added, “By collaborating, sharing knowledge, and supporting one another, we can amplify our impact and drive Uganda’s industrial revolution forward.”

His words resonated with the graduates, who listened intently, inspired by his vision for a future where Uganda’s industries thrive on the foundations of skilled, dedicated, and innovative individuals.

DIT Director Dr. Patrick Byakatonda congratulated the graduates and encouraged them not to stop at this certificate but to aim higher by furthering their learning to fulfill Uganda’s huge industrial capacity. “As we think about the future, we must think about Uganda, our Nation has a huge industrial capacity with one of the most innovative workforces globally. I thank the stewardship of Odrek (Rwabwogo) for unleashing industrial potential for global excellence.”

PACEID Head of Secretariat, Matthew Bagonza expressed gratitude to all stakeholders involved in organizing the graduation. “I am grateful to all the stakeholders involved in organizing this remarkable event. This is a testament to the fruitful partnership between PACEID and DIT, which has empowered skilled individuals and certified them after thorough assessments upon completion of their training programs in their respective fields.” he said before taking the opportunity to communicate PACEID’s mandate of boosting Uganda’s exports and increasing foreign earnings by an extra USD 6Bn in the next five years and USD 100Bn by 2062.

Kole District Member of Parliament Hon. Opio Samuel Acuti applauded PACEID for the vital role it is playing in realizing the vision for a more industrialized and export-oriented Uganda. “We are proud to support this initiative and witness the fruit of this partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training. This is a momentous occasion for the Ankole region. These graduates represent the future leaders and innovators who will drive Uganda’s industrial and economic growth.”

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PACEID roots for Ugandan exports in Chicago- USA

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

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

PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo addressing African American business community in Chicago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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group photo

PACEID and Purple Skills Klinic Partnership Graduates over 100 in Various Fields    

On the Wednesday, 1st of May 2024, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) and the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), in collaboration with the Purple Skills Klinic Foundation led by Douglas Lwanga, held a graduation ceremony at Eden Grounds in Kamwokya. The event marked the successful completion of a skilling training program by over 100 individuals, encompassing diverse fields; cosmetology, soap making, deejaying, baking, photography/videography, modeling, public speaking, graphic designing, and various other vocational skills among others.

The key speakers at the event were Dr. Patrick Byakatonda, the Director of DIT, and Matthew Bagonza, the Head of the Secretariat for PACEID. During their speeches, they congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to put the skills they had acquired to good use by contributing to the growth of the economy.

Matthew Bagonza, Head of PACEID Secretariat encouraged the graduates to use their acquired skills to better the economy

During his speech, Matthew Bagonza conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the graduands and thanked Douglas Lwanga for the initiative that is aimed at bettering the lives and livelihoods of the people in the ghettos of Kamwokya before committing continued support for the Purple Skills Klinic going forward.

“The partnership between PACEID and DIT has been instrumental in equipping these young people with the necessary skills to thrive in various industries. We are confident that they will utilize their newfound knowledge and expertise to contribute to the success of Uganda’s exports and industrial development.” Bagonza said adding that the graduates now can use newfound expertise to add value to their respective products and contribute to Uganda’s target of USD 6Bn in the next five years.  

Matthew Bagonza and DIT Director, Dr. Patrick Byakatonda inspecting some of the products made by the graduates

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda took the opportunity to commission the graduates of the Purple Skills Klinic where the graduates were awarded modular occupational competence-based certificates in their respective fields. “The skills they have learned will be invaluable and I believe they will play a crucial role in the nation’s economic growth.”

DIT Director, Dr. Patrick Byakatonda

One of the guest speakers at the ceremony, Duncan Abigaba, a graduate student of international business at the Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia, expressed his delight at being part of the occasion. He extended his gratitude to PACEID for its contribution to empowering the youth in the ghetto with practical and employable skills.

Abigaba emphasized the significance of skilled labor in economic development and advocated for the promotion of locally produced goods in the international market. “Economies are built by skilled people not educated people. I encourage you to use your skills to produce quality goods and services that align with the national, regional, and international standards.”

Duncan Abigaba

Amidst the celebratory atmosphere, the graduates were treated to captivating performances by renowned entertainers including Pastor Wilson Bugembe, Nina Roz, Fefe Bussi, and Karole Kasita. These artistes imparted words of encouragement to the graduates, urging them to persevere and continue creating employment opportunities within their respective fields of expertise.

Douglas Lwanga, the Founder of Purple Skills Klinic applauded the joint efforts of PACEID and DIT for their support towards the success of the ceremony. “Thank you Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, I know you are not here with us today but we appreciate the good work you and your team are doing not only for us but for the entire country.”

Purple Skills Klinic Foundation founder Douglas Lwanga with Kampala Woman MP, Hon. Shamim Malende

This served as a testament to the positive impact of collaborative initiatives aimed at nurturing vocational skills and enabling economic empowerment within communities. As the graduates embark on their professional journeys, they carry with them not only a certificate of accomplishment but also a sense of purpose and determination to contribute meaningfully to Uganda’s socio-economic landscape.

Douglas Lwanga is congratulated by Eastern Region Youth MP, Hon. Odoi Onen

The graduation ceremony was attended by government officials, industry leaders, and community members, all of whom celebrated the achievements of the graduates and their potential to contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. Prominent among these were Hon. Shamim Malende, Kampala Woman Member of Parliament, and Hon. Odoi Onen, Youth member of Parliament for the Eastern region.

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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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PACEID Urges Private Sector to Participate in the Kampala City Marathon to Debut in December 2024

At a press briefing this morning, Monday, April 29, 2024 at the Uganda Media Centre, Matthew Bagonza, the head of the Secretariat at the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), urged the private sector, particularly those in the tourism industry, to participate in the upcoming first edition of the Kampala City Marathon scheduled for December 2024.

The announcement was made by the Minister of State for Education and Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang. The Kampala City Marathon is an initiative aimed at boosting tourism and investment in Uganda.

The Kampala City Marathon is being organized by the government through the Ministry of Education and Sports and PACEID in conjunction with the private sector to profile Uganda’s socio-cultural and economic endowment. The marathon will also aim to promote the health of the population- through engagement in physical activity as a lifestyle to prevent non-communicable diseases.

Minister of State for education and Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang

In his remarks, Hon. Peter Ogwang revealed that the marathon is a ten-year project to brand Kampala City and Uganda as a preferred tourist destination as well as a strategy to generate revenue for the country.

“The Kampala City Marathon is poised to be one of the top marathon races in Africa that will be key in helping our country attract tens of thousands of visitors to experience the best of the Ugandan spirit and hospitality. It will also offer us an opportunity to showcase our stellar long-distance running tradition and of course, celebrate the beauty and diversity that makes Uganda truly unique. We also have the added benefit of doing this while keeping our people fit and thus reducing the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases.”

Hon. Ogwang also thanked President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is passionate about physical activity, for fully funding this first-ever edition of the Kampala City Marathon. “We thank His Excellency the President for his support and commitment to the physical well-being of Ugandans”.

The Kampala City Marathon will have four major races; 42.195km, 29.097km, 10km, and 5km. These events are expected to start and finish at the Mandela National Stadium and will be open to elite and regular local and foreign runners/joggers. The vision is to involve over 65, 0000 participants from all over the world in the 10 years.

Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Head of Secretariat
Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Head of Secretariat

Bagonza, speaking at the briefing, emphasized the importance of the private sector’s involvement in the success of the Kampala City Marathon. “We are excited to be launching the first Kampala City Marathon that will debut in December 2024, and we are calling on the private sector, especially those in the tourism industry, to come on board and be part of this exciting event”.

PACEID under the leadership of Odrek Rwabwogo is working with several government departments to help drive up Uganda’s export earnings through a multi-pronged approach, to increase export earnings to the country by more than 6 billion USD in the short to medium term and the Kampala City Marathon is one of such avenues.

Robert Verbeeck from Golazo will provide his vast experience in organizing international marathons

The idea is supported by the Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Sport, Enterprise and Development who is also the former Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture, Amina Mohamed. Among her numerous wins are the revamped and very successful Kenya Safari Rally and the Nairobi City Marathon.

Former Cabinet Secretary Amina and her compatriot Ambassador Julius Kiema Kilonzo will be working with PACEID to help realize this dream. They will be supported by the Golazo team, a Belgian event management company with vast experience in organizing international marathons all over the world like; in Berlin, Nairobi, Rotterdam, and Brussels among others.

Robert Verbeeck from Golazo expressed confidence that the Kampala City Marathon will become a premier sporting event in the region, and also encouraged the private sector to get involved to make this a success.

The National Council of Sports and Uganda Athletics Federation are also involved in the organization to ensure that the marathon becomes a success.

The first edition of the Kampala City Marathon is scheduled to take place on the first weekend of December 2024, and organizers are expecting a strong turnout from both local and international participants.

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Odrek Rwabwogo’s full speech at the 2024 National Mentorship Awards Luncheon

Mr. President

The visiting speaker of the House of People’s Representatives of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, the Honorable Tagesse Chaffo Dullo.

The elders who will be awarded today,

Cabinet Ministers

Members of Parliament,

Young people, who joined us at this year’s mentorship luncheon

I thank you very much Mr. President for allowing to host this luncheon and to award the crop of old people we chose for 2024. Last year, you were kind enough to send us the retired PM Hon. Amama Mbabazi (who is here) to preside over the mentorship dinner at Sheraton.

I thank the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hon. Ahmed Abiy whom Your Excellency sent us to, for in turn sending us Speaker Tagesse to be our keynote speaker today.

Some of the yardstick we use to arrive at cohorts to award annually include the following traits:

  1. The years of service a person has put into work for Uganda,
  2. The quality of decisions they made when they had authority,
  3. The depth, intensity, and character of the person,
  4. The kind of changes or reforms they instituted
  5. The impact they have even in retirement

As you might notice, the categories we choose cut across science and technology, art and culture, enterprise and manufacturing, politics and religion, and many other areas of life. Uganda has many good people who have laid foundations for our country but few are known and even fewer are celebrated. I got to know this when we began with nominations last year that ran into 60 + people yet we wanted few. We were not sure who to pick and who to leave out.

That gave me hope to know there are many people out there who build in silence but in the end, our country keeps united, stable, and growing.

To mentor is to guide; to illuminate a path for a young person by an elder, a sort of apprenticeship in life by the older to the young. Often it can be reversed given where one has knowledge and the young can mentor the old too. Mentorship is a good classroom for young people in leadership but sadly we haven’t been deliberate at it. We have not been intentional in creating seedbeds of leaders to guide institutions and the country in a world so competitive and set against Africa.  I woke up to this reality years back when I would be teaching and young people ask questions that show they are unhinged from the reality of what it takes to build a home, a business, an institution, or a country. Many come into leadership without preparation and they often confuse leadership with positions and titles.

There are about four mental architectures I get from young people especially because of the changes wrought by the internet and social media.

The first category is Avoidance. Young people severely reduce quality relationships for fear of opening up to causes that are bigger than them. They do not want to be hurt; they pretend all is well using clean-cut social media images of themselves; they appear strong on the outside but pretty weak inside; they do not want to be vulnerable by consulting elders on what they don’t know. They assume they know it all. In the end, they do not fulfill their purpose, and their potential remains underutilized. This category I meet regularly and they are full of criticism and less knowledgeable on what to do.

The second category is those who suffer from what psychologists call Deprivation. These were raised by self-centered caregivers who showed them that their needs do not matter. They develop an inner critic that tells them, ‘You don’t matter to the world, you are on your own’. These youth often have unworthy feelings and they struggle to fit in. This category is easily abused by peers and led into alcohol or drugs because deep in their hearts they have a yearning to fit in.

The third category is the ones we call overreactive youth. Often, they were abused when they were young and threatened by circumstances. Those thoughts stayed with them through life. They see no neutrality in anything. Everything that doesn’t take their view is menacing and should be fought!

The world to them is a dangerous place and there should be no compromises. They overreact and lash out at small inconveniences. They don’t want to wait. They are impatient and confuse time with seasons. (Cronos versus Kairos). These miss the calling on their lives and rush into instant gratification and kill their tomorrow.

The fourth category I meet is passive aggressors. This group has repressed anger over the years, probably against parents or their caregivers and peers. They sidestep open communication to avoid conflict and confrontation even when this confrontation might heal them of this anger. They have trouble dealing with negative emotions; they turn this passive aggression into a subtle power play. They manipulate others so that they can make them feel guilty and in return get their affection.

All the above categories need mentoring because these are the young people who will come into leadership with these emotional, social, and political deficits. These mental frames are the raw material a country has to produce leaders of tomorrow. It is the reason we use these mentorship sessions annually to create a bridge between the young and the old. A bridge is a good metaphorical example in life. It helps you cross to the other side so you can understand it better. If you keep this side of your river, you will never know that life has to be lived on both sides for a sense of maturity and leadership to emerge. These old people have crossed that bridge of life and returned and they are good examples to study from. Mentorship isn’t just verbal. It is also watching the actions and reading the thoughts of those ahead of you and discerning what to do for your time.

Take Mzee Kintu Musoke as an example. At age 14, he watched his uncle Simeoni Kintu, arrested in 1949 simply for asking to be allowed to go in his cotton farm. He saw a force of Turkana men imported by the British to quell the Katwe riots, descend on fellow Africans, and beat them badly. Kintu Musoke would join Ignatius Musaazi as a young boy to campaign for independence. When he got to India for his studies, he mobilized two other young men – Kirunda Kivejinja and Bidandi Ssali and; together they forged a bond that helped them deal with the politics of Uganda over the years, as a team. They remained committed to Uganda and each other’s ideas. Why don’t you as young people ask them the questions of life, parenting, ideology, and how to keep a country united even if there are political pressures from all corners, internal and external to not work together?

These values of commitment to something higher are partly why we remember Jacob Oulanyah too today. I thank his family for allowing us to use him as a point of connection to illuminate the path for young people and to celebrate the life of these old people when they can still hear and see us. Every time we celebrate the life of old people when they are alive, I feel a burden lifted off my shoulders, a sense of relief. This is because speeches at funerals aren’t helpful to the ones you would have told when they were alive so that they can know you value(d) their life.

Jacob Oulanyah and his first wife Jennifer, were my friends and I know they cared much about the quality of institutions for the country. They also had a deep sense of fairness and justice. Jacob in particular knew how to suspend judgment and hold two opposing opinions and still walk gingerly through life. He had a sense of commitment to what he chose to do. Commitment to something higher than self is what brings true meaning and significance to life. When you commit to something, you are not just making promises. You are re-ordering your life to fulfill this commitment. Jacob understood that choices mean depth and not superficiality and that each choice we make has costs.

For example, when he left one side of the political spectrum, he was not liked where he left. Some members of the group he joined were suspicious of him preferring to keep a distance. It is standing at half-way house and not knowing who to trust. He moved on nevertheless. He was also a peacemaker and without him in the Juba peace talks, perhaps, we would have missed the very compelling voice of some diaspora groups that didn’t understand the war in northern Uganda yet kept pushing for its continuation out of selfishness. He spoke plainly and convincingly when he took a stand on an issue. This is why we use his example this year as a connecting bridge between the young and the old.

Perhaps Jacob picked his reconciliation and forgiveness pathway through his suffering as a student and beyond – both mentally and physically. I know very much that those who suffer forgive most. The playwright Thornton Wilder in his short poem from the play, ‘The Angel That Troubled The Waters’, says “Without your wounds, where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve”.

I am glad we celebrate you, old people and remember Jacob on a day just before Good Friday. May the example of unity of generations we see today, mend our broken areas and keep us strong as a country.

Now to you, young people who came to witness this occasion, keep doing the right thing even if you are under pressure to digress, to join the crowd of wrongdoers in your offices, farms, or the private sector. Last night I was listening to a country singer called Johnny Cash, who died in 2003. Its words say, “No, I won’t back down, there is no easy way out, I will stand my ground, I won’t be turned around, because, I know what is right. I got just one life and, in a world, pushing me around, I will still stand my ground. You can stand me at the gates of hell but I won’t backdown”

I ask that you look at those who have done well by serving our county and learn from them. Don’t back down from doing the right thing.

And to our elders, it is in the sunset of our lives that we get tired and make mistakes. We ask you to remain a shining example to our young people to the end in your word and deed. It is in your good example that together with young people, we can create a RAFT to help us cross to a brighter future for all of us as a country and a continent.

Once again, I thank H.E. the President for allowing us to do this here and for gracing this event with his presence

Speaker Tagesse for being with us

Speaker Anita Among who came to the airport to receive our gest with us

The state house team that helped us with this work

PACEID team of young people

Thank you and the Lord God bless you all.

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Mentoring plays a vital role in nurturing individuals to achieve excellence- President Museveni 

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has emphasized the importance of understanding the story of nature, society, and the human race to provide accurate and effective mentorship.

Museveni revealed this on Thursday evening March 28, 2024, during a National Mentorship luncheon that he was hosting at State House-Entebbe to recognize the invaluable contributions of elderly and retired men and women who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of Uganda. These 16 esteemed individuals, recognized for their incredible achievements and long-standing service, were awarded for their immense role in shaping the country’s progress. The luncheon was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament for his dedication and commitment to public service.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni addressing guests at the luncheon

The 2024 Mentorship luncheon ran under the theme, ‘Modeling the right behavior for the youth of Africa in the 21st Century” and was attended by high-ranking government officials, diplomats, and esteemed guests from various sectors.
“Having a deep understanding of the human race, its history, and evolution helps mentors comprehend the unique strengths, weaknesses, and potential of each mentee. This knowledge forms the foundation for providing personalized and impactful mentorship.” President Museveni noted during his speech.

He also urged guests to embrace science and technology in mitigating societal challenges. “To receive accurate guidance in mentorship, individuals must understand the role of humans as agents of societal change and the significance of science and technology in addressing societal challenges. I salute Odrek Rwabwogo and his team (Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development- PACEID) for recognizing senior citizens. If you don’t reward those who do well, then you are letting down society. I am happy Odrek Rwabwogo and his group have taken up this responsibility. Congratulations to all the awardees for their contributions and recognition of the late Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah.”

President Museveni with Mzee Christopher Gala, one of the awardees

The sixteen recipients of this year’s National Mentorship/Leadership Award were; Justice George W. Kanyeihamba, Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, Hon. Kintu Musoke, Prof. Ezra Suruma, Amos Nzeyi, Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko, James Rwehabura Tumusiime, Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Mzee Christopher Gala, John Wycliffe Karazaarwe, Prof. Frederick Kayanja, Moses Matovu, Pastor Gary Skinner, Dr. Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare, and Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.

John Wycliffe Karazaarwe with family receiving his award from President Museveni

Museveni welcomed and thanked Rt. Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo, the Speaker of Ethiopia’s House of Peoples Representatives for gracing the occasion and accepting to deliver a keynote address at the National Mentorship Awards ceremony.

Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko receives her award, accompanied by Dr. Rev Florence Muranga and Dr. Eve-Kasirye Alemu

In his keynote speech, Hon. Tagesse extended his sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the people and government of Uganda for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me and his delegation upon arrival. He took the opportunity to appreciate R. Hon. Anita Annet Among, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, for welcoming him from the moment he disembarked from the plane.

“We must empower and pave the way for African youth to assume their rightful positions through the right mentorship and guidance. As we strive for Economic growth, innovation, peace, and stability, we must not just include young African leaders but also actively engage and empower them. Their unique perspectives and talents can significantly contribute to these vital goals of our well-being. We must also acknowledge their outstanding achievements publicly on such a decorated platform.”

Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo, delivering his keynote speech at the National Mentorship luncheon at State House-Entebbe

“I would also like to congratulate the family of the late awardee (Jacob Oulanyah) for leading by example. Regrettably, he could not accept this honor in person and spend more time with his loved ones while serving his beloved country. But his loved ones, those who survive him, are honored by his services, and I believe they will carry on his legacy. Seeing Hon. Andrew Oulanyah, his son, following his father’s example fills me with immense pleasure. This is a testament to his father’s leadership and values passed on to the next generation, who deserve recognition.” Stated Hon. Tagesse.

Oderk Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor Special Duties who doubles as the PACEID Chairman highlighted that mentorship extends beyond just words.

Odrek Rwabwogo with Vice President H.E Maj. Gen Jessica Alupo at the awards ceremony

“Mentorship involves observing and understanding individuals’ actions and thoughts to provide effective and meaningful guidance. This observation allows mentors to assess mentees’ strengths, weaknesses, and challenges, enabling them to tailor their guidance toward specific needs. Rather than simply imparting knowledge or advice verbally, mentors should actively engage with mentees’ experiences, encouraging growth and development through hands-on guidance.” he remarked.

Prof. Ezra Suruma, accompanied by his wife Specioza Suruma, receives his award from Vice President Jessica Alupo

“The National Mentorship Awards ceremony is to remind the young generation of the value of dignified and exemplary service by the older retired public servants, who exit Uganda’s public service to pave the way for the young ones,” Rwabwogo added while urging youths to strive to achieve a national collective ethic.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama prayed for the smooth running of the ceremony. He was one of the awardees. Besides him is Matthew Bagonza, Head of Secretariat-PACEID

Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, son of the late speaker, revealed that Jacob Oulanyah always wanted to do the right things, the right way and at the right time implying that he was committed to ethical behavior and always acted in the best interest of the people he served. “Our father was no doubt a mentor to many which aligns with today’s theme of ‘Modeling the eight behavior for the youth of Africa in the 21st Century’. Thank you, Your Excellency, for opening your doors to not only hosting this ceremony but also making sure so many young people are involved”.

Atim Karen Oulanyah (C), Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah (L) and Harold Oulanyah (R) gave moving speeches about their late father, Jacob Oulanyah

Karen Atim Oulanyah, daughter of Jacob Oulanyah said, “Our father was a man who always strived for unity. We, as young aspiring leaders, have to strive for the same. Thank you all, it doesn’t go unappreciated. I hope we all immerse ourselves in my father’s values. Thank you, Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo for this initiative”.

Yubu Onyong (C) mobbed by Gen. Katumba Wamala (L) and Hon. Mmary Grace Mugasa

Yubu Onyong, one of the young people mentored by Jacob Oulanyah paid tribute by encouraging young people out there to emulate the late Speaker of Parliament. “A plan without action is just a gamble. The future of this country is dependent on the youth. And the youth need to be mentored. Let’s stick to the mentorship values that Jacob instilled in us. I would like the youth to encourage themselves that everything is possible.”

Brenda Ker, Jacob Oulanyah’s Press Secretary for many years remembered the late as a forgiving man and never vindictive. “What I learned from my boss (as we always called him) is to forgive, nothing you can ever do on this earth is worth it if you don’t forgive one another”.

H.E Etsegenet Bezabih Yimenu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Uganda

Some of the guests included; Hon. Norbert Mao who revealed that Jacob Oulanyah mentored so many people and always surrounded himself with young people, H.E. Maj. Gen. Jessica Alupo, H.E Etsegent Bezabih Yimenu, Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, Lt. Col. Bright Rwamirama, Rt. Hon. Kasule Lumumba, Hon. Richard Todwong, Hon. Rose Namayanja, Hon. John Nasasira, a considerable number of legislators, family members, religious leaders, friends and well-wishers from all walks of life.

Belinda Amanya, speaker of the EACYC got the opportunity to address the audience.

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