Agreements worth an estimated $2 billion have also been signed between the two countries in the agribusiness, energy and minerals sectors.
Trade between the UAE and Uganda has been touted in recent years due to strong bilateral relations, the Ugandan envoy to the UAE said.
Speaking at the Uganda-UAE Business Forum in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Zaake W. Kibedi, Uganda’s Ambassador to the UAE, said foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UAE has risen from $300 million in 2018 to around $3 billion in 2022.
“Ugandan’s exports to the United Arab Emirates have increased from $600 million in 2018 to $2 billion in 2022,” Kibedi said.
“Today, the UAE is the main export destination market for Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCCs).”
According to the Ambassador, trade exports between Uganda and the UAE reached over $1.59 billion in 2022.
Remittances for Ugandans living and working in the UAE were around $50 million in 2018 but have now risen to $200 million.
The Uganda-UAE business forum follows increased trade between the two countries, particularly after Uganda’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, which ended on March 31, 2022.
Deals worth an estimated $2 billion were signed between Uganda and the United Arab Emirates over a six-month period in the sectors of agribusiness, energy, minerals and others.
Rt. Hon. Ugandan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the East African Community, Rebecca Kadaga, who was the main guest at the event, expressed her satisfaction with the strong and friendly relations between Uganda and the Emirates United Arabs.
“Due to the favorable business environment in both countries, there is potential for further growth in tourism, oil and gas, infrastructure and telecommunications, finance, automotive, commodities pharmaceuticals, retail, electrical engineering, energy and construction,” she said.
“Uganda is a beautiful country with a rich history and hospitable people. The country is built on religious and cultural tourism, and I call on the United Arab Emirates to visit our country for tourism and investment.
Sameh Abdulla Jamaa Al Qubaisi, director of economic affairs at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADED), said the UAE and Uganda had signed several key agreements in the areas of trade and investment, labor exchange and others.
He highlighted the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi, pointing out that the cost of setting up a business in the UAE capital has been reduced to Dh1,000 ($3,670).
“There are many untapped areas for Ugandan companies to tap into in the large UAE market,” Al Qubaisi said.
He noted that the UAE is one of the main destinations for Ugandan exports, including gold and fresh organic food.
The largest segment of Uganda’s economy is the agricultural sector, and Ugandan authorities have urged the people of the UAE to invest in it as the country seeks to shift towards agribusiness.
During a panel discussion on “Doing business in Uganda”, Dr. Abdoumonem Al Marzooqi, Executive Director and Board Member Elite Group UAE who has invested in Uganda’s agricultural sector, said that Ugandan agricultural products – including fruits and vegetables – coffee and other produce are good, but farmers struggle to find markets for their produce.
“Ugandan agricultural produce markets can be easily accessible in the UAE and other GCC countries, but the challenge is that there is no proper linkage between farmers and international markets,” said- he declared.
The forum, the first to be held in Abu Dhabi, offers Ugandan companies the opportunity to showcase themselves in the UAE market.
Presentations were made on trade, investment opportunities in Uganda and priority sectors including agriculture, oil and gas, real estate, insurance, renewable energy and others.
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