UAE delegation visits Uganda to explore business optionsH.E. Abdullah Sultan Al Owais (left), and Olive Kigongo, President of the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry follow proceedings at the forum held in Kampala last week.
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation composed of 22 companies under the banner of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce, was recently in Uganda for a trade and business forum intended to cement and explore new opportunities for commercial ties.
Speaking during the forum, HE Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said, “Our mission to Uganda is as result our on-going visits to the African continent as part of the Sharjah Chamber’s endeavours to reinforce its presence in the emerging African markets and to step up the volume of commercial, economic, and investment cooperation.”
He said the Sharjah Chamber pays great attention to advancing economic cooperation relations and opening new prospects between business people and companies in the Emirate of Sharjah and Uganda. The UAE is a leading source for Ugandan imports of electrical devices, machinery and vehicles.
“At present, the UAE comes third among Uganda’s exporting countries with a value of $ .270 billion, while Ugandan exports to the UAE amounted to $428 million.This reflects the efforts exerted to bolster this economic trend and trade openness between the two sides by encouraging investment in both countries,” he said.
According to Bank of Uganda statistics, exports to the UAE reached $528.3 million for the six months between April and September 2019. This makes the UAE one of the top destinations for Uganda’s exports, notably gold and fresh organic foods. However, there are many other untapped areas Ugandan businesses can exploit in this $184 billion market.
In 2018, the top three countries exporting goods and services to Uganda were China ($1 billion), India ($743 million), and the UAE at $644 million.
Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) encouraged the private sector to leverage such opportunities to scale up their business and forge partnerships with companies from the UAE.
Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development while delivering his remarks said Uganda is a growing free market economy. “Following the rebasing of our economy, our GDP has expanded to $30 billion dollars. Our economy is estimated to grow by 6.2 per cent over the next two years,” he said.
He encouraged the UAE businesses to invest in Uganda and take advantage of the substantial and rapidly growing consumer market which is northwards of 43 million people.
HE Abdullah Sultan Al Owais called on the Ugandan business community to take part in the UAE general and specialized exhibitions held throughout the year at the Expo Centre Sharjah. He also asked them to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities, thanks to the Emirate’s economic diverse policy, and its attractive investment climate, through the provision of a distinguished package of leading services and competitive facilities for foreign investors and business communities.
According to UAE statistics, the wealthy Gulf state’s exports to African markets in 2017 by value were plastics and rubber ($925.3 million), metal products ($407.7 million), other metal products ($267.8 million), sugar ($190.2 million), beauty products and perfumes ($165.7 million), and jewellery and precious metal articles ($161.7 million).