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Absa Uganda and DHL Uganda train 200 SMEs in export trade

Absa head of Business Banking Albert Byaruhanga speaks to participants

Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  DHL, a global leader in the logistics industry in collaboration with Absa Bank Uganda under the 2024 ‘Growing Beyond Borders’ Entrepreneurial Training Programme have trained over 200 SME’s in Jinja to build their capacity to access export markets.

“SMEs tend to focus predominantly on domestic markets, neglecting lucrative opportunities for international trade. This is often due to lack of information, and limited abilities to invest in market research, logistics, compliance, and marketing. These challenges limit SME growth and therefore this program will enable businesses to look into external markets for opportunities,” said Steven Kateihwaho Commercial Director, DHL Uganda.

The overall objective of the program is to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda by enhancing their understanding of the economic potential of international trade and its benefits. The program is being rolled out countrywide across 7 cities including Jinja, Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara, Lira, Arua and Kampala.

“To drive economic growth, we are aware of the need to provide entrepreneurs with essential business development services to grow their businesses. Through this program, we intend to bridge the gap that isolates SME’s from markets, opportunities and access to capital. This work is best done through partnerships and collaboration hence this partnership with DHL,” said Musa Jallow, Retail and Business Banking Director, Absa Bank Uganda.

The free of charge workshop model explores importing and exporting in new markets, provides guidance on how to find key geographical opportunities for the business’ specific products and services, as well as how to identify different marketing avenues and ways to build long-term relationships with their target customers for long-term success.

Uganda continues to face a trade imbalance challenge and Ugandan products meant for export markets often face challenges that limit competitiveness including low quality assurance, failure to meet international standards, high exportation costs, financing difficulties; thus, making goods less competitive in international markets.

Export participation rates for traditional small businesses (those that typically do not sell online) range between 2-28% in most countries. In contrast, 97% of internet-enabled small businesses export, according to the World Trade Organization.

“Thanks to technology advancement, cross-border e-commerce is the fastest-growing segment of international trade. Small businesses can be global utilizing growing available inexpensive digital tools that allow them to source, ship, deliver, pay and collect various aspects of their operations. Through this program, we intend to support SMEs to develop products meant for export and establish linkages to global businesses,” said Steven Kateihwaho Commercial Director, DHL Uganda.

Banks play a key role in providing various financial services and instruments that facilitate the movement of goods, services, and capital across borders. These include providing essential financial services, managing risks, facilitating payments, and offering expertise on international trade.

“At Absa, we believe the opportunity to optimize opportunities for international trade has significant benefits. E-commerce is fast growing providing market places, payment gateways and online logistics which can reduce barriers to trade across border. We have also developed tailor made financing solutions that meet the needs of SME’s and can be evidenced through unsecured loans of up to UGX200 million, vehicle and asset financing of up to UGX600 million. Other available options for financing include export financing, trade finance services such as letters of credit,” Musa Jallow from Absa concluded.

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