Ugandans told to embrace trade with Somalia

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September 3, 2015. Twelve Ugandan soldiers who served as African Union peacekeepers were killed when militants attacked their base in Somalia

BY UGANDA VAGUARD

KAMPALA – The Somali Charged’ Affairs in Uganda Ali Mohamed has called upon Ugandans to embrace the mutual and cordial existing relationships between Uganda and Somalia to boost trade.

The envoy said peace was slowly but surely returning to Somalia.

He noted that Somalia has over the decades of civil turmoil, tried to rebuild itself into a leading Horn of Africa economical regional Hub.

He congratulated the AMISOM for spearheading the peace process and enabling the SNA (Somali National Army) who was recently reformed through biometric registration under the leadership of the current President, H.E Mohammed Abdullah, and the creation of a conducive environment to conduct ahead of the presidential polls in 2021.

“Our special thanks goes out to AMISOM, but specifically the UPDF under the able command of Commander-In-Chief and President of Uganda Rtd. Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for allowing UPDF to protect our citizens and property in Somalia,” he said.

He also hailed the Government of Uganda and the UPDF for training security personnel from Somalia who are now maintaining peace and order with support of the AMISOM forces.

Bilateral Trade Boost Underway

He said early next year, the Somali government is set to hold the first ever Somalia- Uganda Bilateral Trade Economic Forum to boost trade between the two nations, the reason Somalia has boosted its diplomatic presence in Uganda.

The Trade Forum will be organized in partnership with the Somali Ministry of Trade and Chamber of commerce in liaison with Uganda’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce (UNCC)

What is it that can be traded in?

Agriculture still remains the most important economic sector in the desert nation accounting for about 65% of the GDP and employs 65% of the workforce.

Livestock contributes about 40% to GDP and more than 50% of export earnings.

Other principal exports include fish, bananas; sugar, sorghum and corn are products for the domestic market.

Exports consist largely of livestock (camels, sheep, and goats), bananas, hides, and fish, scrap metal. Principal imports are petroleum products, food, and petroleum.

Imports also include medicine, and khat (a stimulant leaf chewed by Somalis).

Somalia’s systemic trade deficit is the result of the country’s dependency on imports of food, fuel, construction materials and manufactured goods.

The charged’ Affairs said Ugandans can take advantage of the recent launched Uganda Airlines flights to Mogadishu to invest or conduct business. “We are so happy that now connecting Somalia to Uganda has been made easier and shorter. In just less than three hours, you are in Entebbe, and the flights are four times a week,” said Ali

He said the connection by Uganda Airlines to Mogadishu is still far shorter to the sea port compared to Mombasa or Da- es salaam. “Somalia is very near to Dubai, while China and Japan, can easily be accessed through Somalia and thus, it still gives it a comparative advantage to the Uganda business man or women.

He noted that soon the traffic of passengers flying in to Entebbe would increase following the cancellation of direct flights from Somalia to Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

In May this year, the Kenyan Government suspended flights from Mogadishu for security reasons. Some Political commentators described the act as a politically motivated, because of the maritime dispute between the two neighboring states. (https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Kenya-suspends-direct-Mogadishu-Nairobi-flights/688334-5111272-6s4v3fz/index.html

When asked to comment on the ban by Kenyan on Somali flights, the Ag ambassador said they (Somali Government) disagreed with Kenya over security reasons, saying: “There are so many international flights that lands on daily basis in Mogadishu, such Uganda Airlines, Qatar, Ethiopian, Djibouti and Turkish Airlines., which all don’t make stop overs anywhere.”

Further details indicate that Kenyan government was pressurizing Somalia to solve the dispute out of court, but Somalia decided that court makes its decision on the matter.

Speaking in a recent interview with Kenya’s leading Citizen TV, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Permanent secretary, Mucharia Kamau acknowledged that that indeed there was a border demarcation dispute spanning since 2014.

Following the ban, all flights from Mogadishu and Kismayu now land at Wajir International Airport where passengers are taken through a ‘rigorous’ and ‘very disturbing” security checks.

 

Where should you invest?

For the Somalis intending to invest in Uganda, a ray of investment opportunities awaits such as opportunities in the areas of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Mining, Infrastructure, Financial services, Tourism, Printing and publishing.

 

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