Failure by Ugandan businesses to address supply-side constraints is affecting the country’s ability to grow her exports, a market expert has said.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor ahead of the Mauritius Trade Expo, Mr Amos Tindyebwa, the director of Trade and Business Development Centre, said although Ugandan businesses want to export their products to other markets, they are never prepared to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves.
“Ugandans like to explore opportunities when they have not done the groundwork. Opportunities will always present themselves but Ugandans always lack the supply-side readiness as opposed to other countries,” Mr Tindyebwa said.
He added: “Ugandans have lost three export opportunities to Mauritius. There was an opportunity to export cotton yarn and sugar molasses to Mauritius but the companies which had shown interest failed to amass the needed quantities,” he said, adding that the other opportunity was for a Mauritius investor to venture into Uganda’s banking industry through acquisition of a local bank but that also failed to materialise.
Mr Tindyebwa, however, urged the business community in Uganda to take advantage of the forthcoming Mauritius-Uganda “buyer-seller” meeting to increase their exports to the Indian Ocean island nation.
The “buyer-seller” meeting scheduled for March 27 to 29 in Kampala seeks to showcase goods made in Mauritius, promote trade and investment cooperation between the two countries and strengthen business partnerships between Ugandan buyers and Mauritius sellers.
About 30 Mauritius companies are expected and will showcase a range of products including textiles and garments, furniture and home decorations, ICT products and services, building materials, agro-processing inputs and fertilizers, auto spare parts, improved seed varieties and manufactured consumables among others.
Uganda has since 2010 been forging bilateral trade ties with several countries as one way of finding markets for its products, a move that would enable the country earn more foreign exchange and reduce the import bill.
As a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mauritius has been promoting intra-regional trade and regional integration in Africa.