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Uganda – South Africa trade, tourism summit

Coffee is one of Uganda’s major export commodity to South Africa.

Uganda targets US$6bn in non-oil exports in next five years

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | On Feb.22, the Ugandan business community were flagged off in preparation for the South Africa Trade Investment and Tourism summit, scheduled at the Gallagher Convention Center, Midrand, South Africa, from Feb.27-28.

Organised jointly by the Government of Uganda and the Republic of South Africa, under the theme “Boosting Trade and Investment Relations Between South Africa and Uganda”, the summit will provide a platform for the business community and government agencies to identify existing and emerging business and investment opportunities of mutual benefit.

Over 300 delegates comprising business leaders, government agencies and investors from the two countries will be in attendance. They will explore opportunities in sectors of agriculture, tourism, oil and gas, healthcare and transport and logistics and more.

The purpose is to bring buyers and sellers from both countries along with investors in the value chain of the key export products from Uganda, together.

Uganda has a target of US$6bn in non-oil exports between 2023 and 2028 to stave off growing unemployment, restore sustained growth in key sectors of the economy post covid19 and increase value addition in agriculture along with more manufacturing in country.

Uganda is focused on increasing exports of beef, dairy, coffee, sugar, cement, steel products, poultry, bananas and banana flour, fruits and vegetables and tourism. South Africa consumes Uganda’s coffee, vanilla, chocolate and other products.

The trade summit will begin with the plenary session followed by a panel discussion by technical experts on the bottlenecks and mechanisms for unlocking trade and investment potential between Uganda and South Africa.

Roundtable meetings with industry experts will follow, focusing on the opportunities of mutual benefit in the Energy, Oil and Gas sectors, boosting African trade in value-added products and unlocking mutually beneficial business opportunities in infrastructure.

On Feb.28, the business community will be provided with a networking platform to identify potential projects and partners for investment and collaboration. This session will be graced by president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Cyril Ramaphosa of Uganda and South Africa respectively.

Robert Mukiza, the Director General at the Uganda Investment Authority said, “Uganda enjoys excellent bilateral relations with South Africa, and this is premised on the long-standing bond between our two countries long before South Africa gained independence. The summit is one way we leverage the existing cordial relations to showcase and identify potential areas for collaboration so that we scale up trade between our two countries.”

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development, Odrek Rwabwogo emphasized Uganda’s need to grow export revenue especially in Africa. He requested Uganda business community traveling to South Africa to conclude deals and attract investors in order to achieve the growth in export revenue by US$6bn over the next five years.

He said, “Markets only make sense if the firms have a deep working relationship and knowledge of what to sell and how. Each of us must carry sample products, brochures, have books of accounts of the last five years, be honest with our strength and weaknesses and know how to communicate to our brothers in South Africa and this should be for every market. We go to avoid talk shops and go for deals and equity investors in our firms.”

Enid Edroma, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs at MTN Uganda – whose parent company is based in South Africa urged the government to harmonise its policies, especially in the telecom sector, with the country’s aspiration for digitalisation.

She said the government needs to forfeit taxes on smartphones like it is in Rwanda to drive the prices of smartphones downwards and thus stir their uptake leading to a reduction in operational costs and so the cost of internet.

South Africa is one of Uganda’s fastest-growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment and is leading in telecommunication, banking, energy and many others. Uganda, on the other hand exports pharmaceuticals products, coffee, vanilla, flowers and vegetables.

The South Africa – Uganda, Trade investment and Tourism summit is part of the government’s intentional initiatives to increase its export quota in the regional and international markets.

The summit was coordinated in Uganda by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, and Government agencies in partnership with MTN Uganda, Stanbic Bank, UNDP and Uganda Airlines.

Uganda exports to South Africa totalled to US$11million while imports were US$220.87million during 2020 according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.


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