The Uganda -Europe Convention has been activated during a high-level dialogue at the President’s Office, Conference Hall in Kampala.
The forum is intended to promote relations between Uganda and Europe, by highlighting the potential in various sectors including tourism, trade and investment.
At the launch, Guest and of honour 3rd Deputy Premier, Rt. Hon. Rukia Nakadama, who was represented by Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, said Europe was an organic partner, and urged participants to share insights about the vast investment opportunities in Uganda and Europe.
Speaking at the same event, Green Transition & Private Sector Program Officer at the European Union, Mr. Sofian Dahmani, conveyed a powerful message from the Head of the EU delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Jan Sadek, stating that they’re aligned to skilling the youth, while mobilising quality investments, and enhancing trade between Uganda and the European Union.
This, he said will enhance progress toward diversifying the economy, growing the tourism sector, creating new jobs in various industries.
The EU is Uganda’s third most important trading partner. About 16.5% of Ugandan products go to the European market, making it the second most important export destination. In 2022, the European Union imported goods worth 778 million euros from Uganda.
Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Uganda, H.E. Ahmad Ibrahim, commended President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for according reception to the Sudanese community, following the civil strife in their home country. He revealed that Sudan is the second market for Ugandan coffee after Europe.
Minister of Defence & Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Ssempijja, labelled the UEC, as a wonderful initiative, which seeks to position Uganda into a stream of things. “The Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces, Gen. (Rtd) President Museveni, is a pan-Africanist, and Uganda highly values her relations with willing partners.”
Pointing to the convergence of interests, Ssempijja said the European bloc has been supporting Uganda’s development, defence systems, through assortment of logistics and training programs, which has ensured tranquility and boosted international trade. “For this to continue, we need to see the opening of new markets to stimulate domestic production. We need to work tirelessly to attract more investors.”
State Minister of ICT, Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, said ICT is an undeniable enabler for the socio-economic growth of Uganda & Europe. “There is a pressing need for further investment, through collaborative efforts with European tech-giants.”
She applauded European Fin-tech international partners, which currently support and offer opportunities to youth, in fields of education, trade, innovation, security, defence, among others.
Head of Anti-Corruption Unit, Brig. Gen. Henry Isoke, reckoned the need to identify and deal with corrupt officials in the process of setting up and extending businesses. “Strong economic engagement is, however, undermined by the existing vice of corruption in the country. Investors have lost money through fictious claims.” On a positive note, he clearly put it that government is cracking down on corrupt officials, through his docket and other agencies.
He also issued a compelling call to stakeholders to work hand in hand with IOM, to harmonise labour laws, establish mechanisms which protect, respect & reserve rights of migrant workers, and promote ethical recruitment and safe labour migration in the region.
Pointing to ‘brain gain’, he asked all Ugandan Diasporas to bring their acquired skills back home, in a bid to cause structural transformation of the country’s economy.
Cleopas Ndorere, Commissioner of External Trade, who represented Hon. Francis Mwebesa, mentioned that the Uganda Europe Convention will further bilateral ties. He said this will create avenues for Uganda to export worldwide, lure more potential investors & increase domestic production.
In his message read by SPC Hadijah Namutebi, IGP Mr. Martin Okoth Ochola, reminded participants of the mandate of Uganda Police Force as provided in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, and Uganda Police Force Act, that is protection of life and property, prevention and detection of crime, keeping law and order, and maintenance of overall security and public safety in Uganda.
He assured that UPF continues to use science & technology to combat crime and insecurity, hence ensuring peace and security, thus creating an environment that attracts and safeguards tourists, investors, and reduces the cost of doing business.
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