Officials from the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Kenya, have met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters to discuss ways of advancing Bi-lateral trade between both countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in line with its core mandate of promoting commercial and economic diplomacy, has previously engaged the Government of the Republic of Kenya under the framework of Joint Ministerial Commission to secure concessions to increase Uganda’s trade volumes of goods exported to Kenya.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Grace Adong, the Acting Permanent Secretary welcomed the Kenyan Delegation to Uganda and highlighted that these efforts to resolve the trade issues between Uganda and Kenya are being perused in the spirit of promoting cooperation and integration within the East African Community. She further observed that this was not an accident, but rather a process of meticulous calculation and foresight of the political leadership of both countries.
Ms. Adong further reiterated that the benefits of integration and cooperation far outweigh the costs. She also noted that total trade between Uganda and Kenya has increased from 168 million dollars registered in 1999 to 1.247 billion dollars in 2020, an increment of 644%. Total trade was recorded as 1.325 billion dollars in the year before #Covid-19 – 2019.
In his opening remarks, Amb. Johnson Weru, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Trade, Enterprise and Development in the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development of the Republic of Kenya thanked the Government of Uganda for the warm reception accorded to him and the entire delegation.
Amb. Johnson noted that this meeting is to, among others follow up on what was agreed during the 18th December and March 2019 meetings between President Kenyatta and President Museveni that this will increase the amount of sugar export from Uganda beyond the COMESA protocol.
The Principal Secretary recalled that the issue of whether the quota of 20,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar that was eligible to enter Kenya had been resolved. He further noted that Kenya moved into the formulation of what was agreed during the March 2019 understanding between President Kenyatta and President Museveni. This will increase the amount of sugar export from Uganda beyond the COMESA protocol.
Sugar is one of the key products of Uganda. At the moment, Uganda has an annual production capacity of approximately 550,000 mts (Five hundred and Sixty Thousand Metric Tons) with a domestic consumption of approximately 360,000 mts (Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand Metric Tons). Uganda therefore has a surplus of 190,000 mts (One Hundred and Ninety Thousand Metric Ton).
In December 2019, during the Mid-Term Review of the outcomes of the Joint Ministerial Commission held in Kampala, the two parties noted that the sugar exports had increased from 36,000 metric tons to 57,273 metric tons as of October 2019. It was then agreed that a verification Mission would be undertaken by Kenya to Uganda to ascertain the origin status of Uganda’s sugar in order to be considered for further increases of the quota to 90,000 metric tons.
The Verification Mission will undertake field visits to the following factories; Sezibwa sugar factory, SCOUL sugar factory, FM sugar factory, Mayuge sugar factory, Kakira sugar factory, Kaliro sugar factory, Kamuli sugar factory, Bwendero sugar factory, Hoima sugar factory, Kyenjojo sugar factory, Kiryandongo sugar factory, Atiak sugar factory Victoria sugar factory among others.
The Joint verification Trade Mission will not only involve the sugar verification exercise but also tackle other market access challenges in areas such as poultry, maize and dairy products.