Speaker Kadaga urges Ugandans to add value to agricultural products and exploit the available market in UAE
Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | The speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has urged Ugandan producers and exporters to embrace value addition if they are to penetrate international markets. Kadaga was speaking at the opening of the Uganda Convention in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Saturday 7th October 2017 at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai.
The three days convention and expo is an initiative by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives in collaboration with the Ugandans living in UAE aimed at promoting Uganda’s exports in the Middle East.
In her remarks, Kadaga said it is disheartening to see that there are many airlines that take Ugandans to United Arab Emirates on a daily basis to import products and many of these Ugandans return home with nothing.
“There are more than five airlines that fly from Entebbe to Dubai daily with Ugandans who take out the little we have to import from UAE thus contributing to the UAE economy and take nothing home”, exclaimed Kadaga.
She said such a position should be reversed so that Ugandans focus on taking exports to UAE and bring back the dollars, and also attract more investments from UAE to Uganda and create a balance of trade between the two countries.
Kadaga said focus should be put on adding value to Uganda’s agricultural products and exploit the entire value chain of the products for these products to penetrate the market in the Middle East.
She added that if UAE investors start up industries in Uganda, there will be no need of Ugandans especially young women to suffer exploitation in some Arab countries because jobs would be created at home.
The State Minister of Trade and Industry Michael Werikhe implored the Ugandan exporters who participated in the convention and expo to first learn the dynamics of the market and understand the necessary requirements and procedures of exporting in order to be competitive in the UAE market.
Werikhe also wooed the business community in UAE to consider Uganda as an investment destination with focus on agribusiness, construction of warehouses and silos, fisheries and manufacturing.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem reiterated Government’s commitment to promote exports saying it is the reason why there is now a lot of emphasis on economic and commercial diplomacy that is focused on promoting exports and attracting investments.
However, the Ugandan exporters who participated in the Dubai convention asked the Government of Uganda to revive the National Airline to reduce on the cost of exportation which makes Uganda’s products expensive and less competitive in UAE.
Matovu Twaha says they spend a lot of money on airlines which makes the products expensive.
Dr. Satish Mapara from Melco Logistics Dubai, the major distributor and logistics service provider in Dubai urged Uganda to invest in creating awareness and promoting Ugandan products in the Middle East if they are to capture the market.
“There is need for Government of Uganda to create awareness about the Ugandan products because people do not know them and also work on the infrastructure from Kampala to Mombasa in order to promote exports”, explained Dr. Satish.
Although UAE currently ranks as Uganda’s number one export destination, 80% of these exports is gold and other precious stones, with little export volumes of agricultural products where Uganda has a comparative advantage. Uganda’s exports to UAE are valued at $468.8 million.
Francis Ntangaaza, the Project Manager of the convention says it is aimed at giving Ugandan exporters a platform to market their products and connect them to the buyers in the UAE market.
More than 80 exporters are participating in the Uganda Convention and expo in Dubai, UAE.