By Nancy Emily Nagujja.
The Dubai Expo 2020/22 is ongoing since October 1, 2021 and to be concluded on 31ST March, 2022 has attracted over 190 countries worldwide. Uganda being one of the participants will be running two weeks of activity: The Trade and Agricultural week. The Trade week that started on Wednesday 9th February, 2022 with B2B meetings and the different venues and have activities like the Sharjah business Forum, Fujairah Business Forum, Ras Al Khaimah Business Forum and climax with the Gulfood Expo at the World Trade Center, Dubai. Uganda through this participation is strategizing on how to tap into the immense business opportunities with the United Arab Emirates. The 5-day Uganda-UAE convention started at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce attracting both Ugandan Private Sector participants and Emirates for the B2B sessions. This trade and investment roadshow will connect nations through business.
The Ugandan delegation led by Uganda Export Promotion Board and coordinated by the Embassy of Uganda in Abu Dhabi. The Ugandan delegation to United Arab Emirates has made a number of presentations to the delegate as way of enticing and attracting them to Uganda. Among the presenters of the Day Trade week were: Dr. Elly Twineyo ED of Uganda Export Promotion Board, Mr. Daniel Birungi the Executive Director Uganda Manufacturers Associations (UMA), Ms. Ovia Matovu, CEO of Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association, Mr. John Bosco Lwere from the Uganda Export Promotion Board.
Dr. Elly Twineyo said, “We need to trade and we have been trading already and we think we can continue, that is why we have invited Ugandan businesses and the Government of Uganda to interact with UAE business, government and partners.”
Mr. John Bosco Lwere, the Trade Promotion Officer from Uganda Export Promotion Board noted, “We have competitive advantages in these products like: coffee, tea and cocoa and we believe that if we are able to speak to each other and come to an understanding we can exploit this market opportunity.” He gave an overview of Uganda’s Trade with the UAE and trade opportunities which included selling of agricultural products like: tea, coffee and cocoa, with fish: Nile perch and Tilapia, fruits and vegetables: avocado, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, pepper, and ginger, for grains: kidney beans, mung beans and sesame and for agro processed: Milk powder. Uganda’s leading merchandise exports have steadily increased over the years from 2017-2021 according to the different exports and percentages.
Uganda’s leading Export Destinations include: United Arab Emirates, Kenya, South Sudan, Congo, Italy, Tanzania, Sudan, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, India, Burundi, USA, Spain, and China respectively. Uganda not only exports agricultural products but also agro-processed products, minerals and services like: Professional services, accountants, engineers etc. as well as educational services.
“I thought it was important to highlight the leather vacuum chain in Uganda. As value chain that is nascent but growing with International standards we are exporting to a number of leather producing countries. A lot of what we export is at the wet blue variety which means it’s semi-processed for there is a possibility of going further.” Mr. Daniel Birungi said.
Ms. Ovia Katiti Matovu made a presentation on or the Uganda Fish Processing and Export Industry. In her remarks she said, “Our industry only deals in Nile Perch. We have other species like Tilapia, cat fish but most of these species are affirmed.” The Fish is sold in different forms such as: N.P steaks, fish Maw, Fish fillet, portions and N.P loins.
Ms. Mayada Eldin an entrepreneur form UAE said, “In terms of personal and professional levels, UAE is a very encouraging environment for businesses and that is why we are here today. We are looking for very successful partnerships with Uganda. We are looking for Export businesses for export businesses for products to Uganda.” One of Day one’s activities was a visit to the Sharjah fresh foods market. “With an aim of finding out how our products are performing and supplied to the market, we visited Souq Aljubail Sharjah fruits and vegetables market.
With Day 2 of the Uganda-UAE convention underway in Ras Al Khaimah city in the UAE, amidst the B2B meetings and conference taking place at The Cove Rotana beach resort in Ras Al Khaimah. Uganda expects to create an even bigger outreach to the business community as well as exhibit more of its products to the International market. Uganda aims at increasing its exports with this Expo.
The Uganda-UAE convention aims at fostering business ties between Uganda, UAE government and business. Uganda hopes to make the best out of these two week participation being that this Expo have so far provided Uganda with the best business platform to woe potential business partners. There is great room for growth in trade and agricultural products. The remaining period is crucial for Uganda as it tries to exhaust showcasing its Trade and agricultural products.