Kampala. India has been challenged to open up for more trade with Uganda and East Africa in general.
Speaking to an 18-man delegation of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India, who ended their trade mission to the East African Community (EAC) on March 23, State Minister for Finance (General Duties), Mr Fred Omach, said: “India is a big place. Every Indian should drink one cup of Ugandan coffee because we produce one of the best coffee in the world. Buy more goods from us. This will check the trade imbalance.”
Bilateral trade between Uganda and India stood at $1,247.82 million (Shs4.2 trillion) in 2013 according to statistics from Bank of Uganda. Out of this total trade, India’s exports to Uganda were worth $1,231 million (Shs4.1 trillion) and Uganda’s exports to India were only $16 million (Shs54 billion) in 2013. Uganda’s exports to India are predominantly agricultural commodities which include coffee, tea and legumes, among others.
In his response, the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Dr Ramesh Chandra, promised a continued working relationship with Uganda to boost trade and investment.
“Ten years ago Uganda was landlocked but now it’s linked because it’s doing business with her neighbours. It has become a hub for EAC and this means a market of over 160 million people,” Chandra said.
According to Uganda Investment Authority statistics, India was ranked the first source of Uganda’s Foreign Direct Investment in 2014/15 with projects in engineering, pharmaceuticals and ICT taking the lead.
The secretary Indian Business Forum in Uganda, Mr Hitesh Shah, said: “Like any other African economy, Uganda has challenges but everywhere in the world there are problems. But Uganda is stable with a wide growth potential.”
The head of the EEPC delegation Mr Mahesh Desai, in his remarks, said India and Africa economic partnership is not transactional “…but it results in the belief of a shared destiny and power of the South-South cooperation in transforming the lives of our people.”
EEPC India is the premier trade and investment promotion organisation in the South Asian country. The organisation encourages building global partnerships with India through the buyer-seller meetings like the just concluded tour of Uganda and EAC.
Indian engineering exports to Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia totalled to $965.89 million (Shs3.2 trillion) from April 2015 to January 2016.
Bilateral trade between Uganda and India stood at $1,247.82 million (Shs4.2 trillion) in 2013 according to statistics from Bank of Uganda. Out of this total trade India’s exports to Uganda were worth $1,231 million (Shs4.1 trillion) and Uganda’s exports to India were only $16 million (Shs54 billion) in 2013.