The South Korean Ambassador to Uganda, Ha Byung Kyoo has said there is a lot that both Uganda and Korea can offer to bolster the relations between the two countries.
“Korea has the potential for Ugandan products to be exported and particularly coffee can fetch a lot of money for Ugandans. It can be one of the big exports for Uganda to Korea,”Kyoo said during the Uganda–Korea economic cooperation seminar at Serena hotel in Kampala.
The Ambassador said Uganda is not well exposed to Korean private investors, a gap he said needs to be exploited by both countries for their own benefit.
He noted that he would encourage more investors and tourists to Uganda as well as Ugandans to export to Korea.
The volume of exports by Uganda to Korea has in the past years moved from $1.34 million in 2016, $ 0.21million in 2017 and $1.03 million in 2018.
Uganda on the other hand exported from Korea goods worth $0.46 million in 2016, $0.69 million in 2017 and $0.86 million in 2018.
The Korean Ambassador said there is a lot for both countries to learn about each other’s economic interests and policies in a bid to ensure strengthened ties.
“Our bilateral relations have continued to improve since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1963. In particular our relations have been bolstered with the opening of an embassy in 2011. However, we still have a long way to go in economic cooperation.”
Ambassador Isaac Ssebulime, the acting Director in charge of Regional and International economic affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Uganda can easily march the economy of South Korea but said this can come through hard work.
“When you visit a rich man, you don’t just sit in his room to admire his artifact. You ask yourself how he did it. Ugandan should take lessons from how South Korea made it because at one time before independence our economy was bigger than theirs,”Ssebulime said.
“It is very painful to say that at independence Uganda was better off than South Korea but things have now changed.”
The Ugandan Foreign Affairs Ministry official said currently South Africa is the sixth largest exporting nation in the world but noted that the same can be said of Uganda.
He noted that just like South Korea was able to make a fundamental change for the better, Uganda too can achieve the same feat but noted there is need to change the mindset.