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Uganda, EU agree to increase trade

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The European Investors represented 12 EU countries. PHOTO URN

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The European Union and Uganda have agreed on the need to increase trade and investments between them because the current environment is favorable.

While the EU is Uganda’s largest single source of foreign direct investment and tourists, trade between the two is worth about 1.5 billion euros, as per the 2022 statistics.

On a positive note for Uganda, her exports account for 800 million dollars against imports worth 700 million, a rare trade balance of trade position for the country.

The EU says it is time for Uganda to benefit from the Global Gateway, an ambitious theme that stands for “sustainable and trusted connections that work for people and the planet,” helping to tackle the most pressing global challenges, from fighting climate change to improving health systems and boosting competitiveness and security of global supply chains.

Speaking at the 3rd Uganda-European Union Business Forum at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija appealed to European Investors to take advantage of the favourable environment to increase their presence in Uganda.

Vice President, Jessica Alupo welcomed the choice of sectors the EU is focusing on in dealing with Uganda, including agribusiness; sustainable tourism; Infrastructure, energy and digital technology; and minerals.

She said this is because these are in agreement with Uganda’s priority sectors laid down in the National Development Plan 3 and Vision 2040.

However, Alupo noted that while the EU’s deforestation regulations that put sanctions on selected agricultural commodities that were produced at the expense of forest cover.

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These include beef, wood, coffee, and cocoa, which she says, are some of Uganda’s major products, which she said will be affected.

In a statement read for her by Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Minister Henry Mwebesa, however, she said that they welcome the EU gesture to ensure sustainable production, adding that Europe should implement the laws and regulations that also provide for cooperation between it and the producing country to meet the requirements.

//Cue in: “The regulations will…

Cue out:…Uganda’s green agenda”//

The three-day event also has an exhibition featuring about 100 companies as well as Deal Rooms to bring together investors from Uganda and the EU to discuss collaboration opportunities.

The EU Head of Delegation in Uganda, Jan Sadek, said that with the current growth in trade and investments, the two are open for business.

The forum is being held under the theme: Boosting Trade and Investment. What Can Uganda Gain from the Global Gateway? ”

Myriam Ferran, Deputy Director General, International Partnerships at the European Commission said they are intensifying resource mobilization from the bloc’s agencies to fund various aspects that will enable it to achieve this goal.

She says the objectives include making it easy to access financing, de-risking investments in Uganda also ensuring their activities do not impede debt sustainability.

According to the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda’s main exports to the EU were food, notably coffee, and live animals which accounted for 82.1 percent, and flowers with 14.7 percent. The EU majorly sent to Uganda machinery which accounted for 38.2 percent, and manufactured goods with 22.8 percent.

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“Uganda is an appealing destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2021, Uganda was the top recipient of FDI in the East African Community, amounting to USD 3.2 billion or 12.1 trillion shillings,” said Morrison Rwakakamba, the UIA Board Chairman.

He added, “Key to Uganda’s investment appeal is the rate of returns enjoyed by investors, averaging 13.8 percent in 2022, the highest in the EAC and the 4th in Africa

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