Zaake W Kibedi Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the UAE, speaks about the strong trade links the country shares with the UAE
Uganda established diplomatic relations and opened its Embassy in the UAE in 2009. The main purpose of the establishment of these relations was mainly to focus on the promotion of commercial and economic diplomacy, which is also the core mandate of the Embassy.
The traditionally strong bilateral relations enjoyed by Uganda and the UAE have received impetus with exchange of high level bilateral visits from time to time. The visit of the President of the Republic of Uganda in 2017 marked the enhancement of a strategic partnership between the two countries.
There has also been a number of visits from the UAE to Uganda. Several agreements have been signed during these visits including bilateral agreements on economic cooperation, manpower services, agreement on avoidance on political cooperation, agreement on protection of investments and agreement on avoidance of double taxation amongst others. the two sides have also signed MoUs on strengthening cooperation in agriculture. The Embassy is following up on agreements on entry visa exemption for diplomatic, special and official passport holders, media, energy, and so on.
Uganda and UAE have shared trade links through the decades. The trade, which was dominated by traditional items such as coffee, cotton and tea, underwent a sharp chance after introduction of Commercial and Economic Diplomacy and diversification of the economy in Uganda. This has led to growing exports from Uganda over the years. The exports include precious metals, agricultural produce, tea, coffee, gems, meat products, mineral and skilled workers from Uganda. This growing commercial and economic relations is contributing to the stability and strength of a deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries. Both sides are striving to further strengthen these ties for mutual benefits. Uganda-UAE trade, which was valued at $180 million per annum in the early 2000s, is today $1.85 billion making UAE, Uganda’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and Gulf region.
There is an estimated $5 billion UAE investment in Uganda of which around $2 billion (April 2020) is in the form of foreign direct investment, while the remaining is portfolio investment. The UAE’s investments in Uganda are concentrated mainly in five sectors: services sector, energy, construction (infrastructure), petroleum, construction development and commercial agriculture.
It’s important to note that the mission has been playing a big role in mobilising Ugandans in UAE for development back home. As part of this exercise, the mission has so for organised four Annual Uganda-UAE convention. This fifth one will be held this year at the Uganda Pavilion at Expo 2020 in December 2021.
I wish to inform the public that Uganda has been participating in preparations for the Dubai Expo 2020 and has now received the Uganda Pavilion at the Expo site. You are all invited to the Uganda Pavilion at the Opportunity theme park. I therefore wish everyone a successful participation at Expo 2020 that we have been looking forward to. The Expo 2020 will run for a period of six months from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021
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