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PACEID Facilitates Dialogue Between Private Sector and Technology Associates on TradeXchange’s Advantages for Ugandan Exporters

Key private sector players in the export industry were today, Tuesday December 5, 2023 updated on TradeXchange, a digital export transformation platform being developed by Technology Associates in partnership with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID). The meeting was held at Technology Associates offices along Yusuf Lure Road, Plot 23.

Technology Associates (TA) is a leading, award-winning IT Systems Integrator operating from 6 country offices in East & Central Africa for over 25 years. Their 300 associates have undertaken national-scale, enterprise technology projects in over 17 countries across the continent.

The engagement between the private sector and Technology Associates was part of the week-long orientation workshop facilitated by PACEID to provide updates on the progress of TradeXchange in order to share the plan, methodology and tools to be used for the needs assessment and requirements gathering phase.

Technology Associates team during the engagement

In August 2023, PACEID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Technology Associates and CargoX to develop a sandbox model of TradeXchange as a digital frontier to solve the trade facilitation gaps identified. The platform aims to revolutionize the export industry by digitizing and streamlining the process. It seeks to simplify and enhance the efficiency of export transactions, reducing paperwork, and making the entire process more transparent and accessible.

The day’s session kicked off with a briefing from Douglas Onyango, the Project Manager explaining to the private sector that the engagement was more of a needs assessment to establishing under which components of the export ecosystem they (exporters) belong to.

Douglas Onyango, Project Manager at Technology Associates

Mr. S. Kaleeswaran (Business Solutions Lead) and Mr. A. Balachandran (Technology Lead) from Technology Associates made a presentation highlighting the four pillars upon which TradeXchange will operate; E-registry pf businesses, E-registry of farmers, Supply chain traceability and Consignment certification. “The platform also incorporates blockchain technology to ensure the security and immutability of transaction records, making it more reliable and trustworthy,” noted Mr. Kaleeswaran.

Mr. Kaleeswaran, Business Solutions Lead at Technology Associates

During the orientation meeting, Technology Associates team responsible for the development of TradeXchange showcased the various features and functionalities of the platform. They explained how it simplifies the export process by providing a one-stop digital platform where exporters can access all the necessary tools and resources.

“As PACEID expands Uganda’s market reach and enhances value addition, the TA-CargoX Consortium will provide a robust, globally compliant digital trade platform as the surest means to integrate Uganda into the global trade network. TradeXchange shall automate the import and export value chain, provide visibility in the trade supply chain, ensuring transparency, reliability and save costs directly for all participants”. Mr. Girisch Nair, Chairman Technology Associates says about the platform.

Mahmood Hudda (C) with Allan Agaba (L), both from PACEID and Dr. James Kanyijje (R) from KK Foods Ltd

Mahmood Hudda, PACEID Executive Committee Member highlighted the platforn’s potential to drive Uganda’s exports saying TradeXchange will be a blockchain-based collaboration platform that streamlines processes and enhances information flow among farmers, producers, traders and government bodies. “It helps government offer more efficient regulation on accreditation, quality and produce traceability in a secure manner, promoting trust between participants, preventing fraud, and minimising disputes.”

The orientation meeting was attended by prominent private sector exporters, who expressed their appreciation for TradeXchange and its potential to transform the export landscape. Dr. James Kanyijje, CEO of KK Foods Limited applauded PACEID for the initiative and is looking forward to the benefits TradeXchange will offer. “We have had challenges with establishing the actual figures as far as exports go. Ministry of Agriculture will ask me for export figures of bananas and I am unable to tell because I am one exporter and we have over 140 companies exporting. So, I believe this platform will help not only exporters but the whole country as well to easily track its exports revenues.” Dr. James Kanyijje remarked. He however emphasized the need for more and improved infrastructure to be able to export smoothly.

Atwine Loyce from Fresh Cuts Uganda Ltd (L) and Joshua Magambo-Digitization Project Lead PACEID

Loyce Atwine from Fresh Cuts Uganda Limited emphasized the need for continuous updates and refinements to meet the evolving demands of the export industry. She, like other exporters, expressed concern over the high cost of operation in the export industry.  

Steven Kasalirwa, CEO of Kastus Investment Uganda Ltd, a vanilla and cocoa exporting company, welcomed the idea of TradeXchange and highlighted its potential in revolutionizing the export industry. “It will be a game changer and will simplify the process as it will bring all the export stakeholders in one space.”

Additionally, the exporters provided valuable feedback and suggestions for further improvements on the platform.

The meeting concluded with PACEID expressing their commitment to supporting TradeXchange and facilitating its widespread adoption. They recognized the platform’s potential to drive economic growth, job creation, and overall industrial development. Uganda has a target of USD 6bn in the next five years as export revenues across key products in selected markets.

Ajesh Sasi, Lead-Project Delivery thanked all for their time and valuable insights which he believes will contribute to the improvement of the platform.

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