KAMPALA, UGANDA – Trade and industry minister, Amelia Kyambadde last week said there are moves to streamline agro-business by improving the value chain through processing to help meet the internationally acceptable export standards.
“We are now working with Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to create a working one-stop centre, remove all the non-tariff barriers through working with Trademark East Africa and reducing bureaucracies that tend to scare away potential investors. In the SITA project, Uganda is planning to export sunflower, cotton and coffee to India duty-free,” Kyambadde said.
The Minister was launching the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project, which is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) based in Geneva.
She said better quality Uganda exports will have a greater impact on the balance of trade which is currently in a deficit.
SITA aims to increase the competitiveness and productive capacities of East African businesses leveraging India’s wealth of expertise and technological know-how in specific sectors. SITA was started in April 2015, to create greater export flows from East Africa to international markets and enhance competitiveness of East African businesses with high quality and capacity to export to India.
Kyambadde said: “We want to see increased investments, knowledge and technology transfer from India to East Africa, improved business development services provided by regional and National Trade Investment Support Institutions and improved business environment fostered through Public-Private dialogue and partnerships.”
There are five countries in the SITA project Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda nurturing trade with India in the six years project.
The project started in March 2014 and is expected to end in March 2020. The project benefits East African business, Indian companies importing from or investing in Africa and national, regional trade and investment support institutions. Dorothy Tembo, the ITC Deputy Executive Director said Uganda is one of the most active countries engaging with the ITC for equality in trading arrangement. Its major aim is to precisely support government and the private sector in exporting and generating jobs.
She said: “SITA has progressed with activities at the policy, institutional and enterprise levels across its countries and sectors. Business has been transacted; investment partnerships have been forged; agreements for sale have been entered in to; businesses and institutions have gained exposure to appropriate technologies best practises and most of all exposed to new markets and potential buyers in those destinations.”
She said investment attractiveness has been profiled, business process mapped; and value chains analysed to enhance sector competitiveness and provide blueprints for national level advancement, beyond SITA’s remit.
“Under SITA, Partnerships have been created, and are being negotiated, at regional, national and inter-institutional levels with public and private sector counterparts. Complementarities are being identified and leveraged with development partners. Stakeholder driven consultative committees have been formed at the national level to enhance coordination and coherence,” she said.
Uganda was hosting the Fifth Partnership Platform Meeting that reviewed the results of the first year of SITA implementation, providing a strong platform to nurture collaborations for increased trade and investment opportunities between India and East Africa.
The second year (April 2016- March 2017) of SITA’s implementation will see activities covering trade and investment promotion and matchmaking as well as capacity building across sectors and solutions for value-added production being developed.
This South-South trade and investment promotion project, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), targets growth in priority sectors including pulses, sunflower, spices and essential oils, leather, coffee, cotton textile and apparel, business process outsourcing and information technology-enabled services (BPO-ITES), as well as other emerging sectors in five East African countries, viz. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.