The State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem has hailed what he termed as strategic invaluable relations between Uganda and United Arab Emirates.
Oryem made the remarks on Wednesday during the opening of the fourth annual Uganda-UAE convention held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The relationship between Uganda and the United Arab Emirates is strong, strategic invaluable and is developing further. Uganda has signed several agreements and others are being negotiated with the UAE. I wish to urge the business community to take advantage of these enabling instruments to promote trade,”Oryem said.
He noted that the UAE has proved to be an important link between Uganda and the Middle East and this has been the most important hub for transiting to America, Europe and Asia.
He said the convention will greatly benefit Uganda through promotion of its products.
“Participation at this expo is expected to promote Uganda’s products, culture and diversity to the entire world. There is still enormous opportunities for the increase of trade between our two countries. We need to involve the private sector more in convention like this as they are in front line of business and trade, in order to increase the trade volume between our countries,” the State Minister for Foreign Affairs said.
Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda said there is an urgent need to ensure that investment and trade bottlenecks between the two countries are sorted out.
Rugunda said in addition to promotion of investment and trade, the convention should also be an arena for promoting social and cultural interaction between citizens of the two countries.
He pointed out that an estimated 60,000 Ugandans live and work in the UAE, remitting 400 million dollars annually.
The Executive Director of Uganda Export Promotion Board, Dr Elly Twineyo said trade between Uganda and the UAE is growing fast, noting that in 2019 Uganda enjoyed a positive trade balance with exports to the UAE at 1.2 billion dollars against 563 million dollars in imports.
Twineyo said arrangements are underway to export to the UAE fish like Nile Perch and Tilapia, as well as fresh foods, fruits, coffee and tea, among other products.
The UAE’s foreign direct investment in Uganda is at 400 million dollars and on an upward trajectory.