Uganda set to get $20 million trade institute

Wednesday June 15 2011

By Walter Wafula


India, one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, plans to establish a Shs48 billion knowledge centre in Kampala to promote international trade in Africa. Mr K.T Chacko, the director Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, revealed the plan at a conference aimed at getting the input of beneficiaries of the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT) in Kampala on Monday. The institute is designed to provide practical professional education in the field of international business and marketing.

Pan African project
“It is meant to be a Pan-African project that will promote the marketing of products from Africa to the world. There will be a huge opportunity for acquiring professional knowledge,” Mr Chacko told Daily Monitor on the sidelines of a conference.

The institute which will kick off at the Uganda Management Institute (UMI) this year, before getting its headquarters due in 2013, will train students in management courses including; International Business, Masters in Business Administration and several executive development programmes. Mr Deo Lukonji Bbosa, the acting director of UMI said IAIFT will initially be hosted at faculty of business and competiveness at the institute.

Strengthen cooperation
The institute is part of efforts by the Indian government to strengthen economic cooperation and trade with African nations, under its Pan-African Project. The programme was initiated at the first India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in 2008. At the second summit in Ethiopia last month, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also announced a $5 billion credit line for African nations pursuing development goals. The initiatives come at time when major powers in several parts of the world are scrambling for a share of business and mineral resources in Africa.

Other economic powers competing for Africa include; China and the European Union which have initiated various trade agreements with African governments such as the European Partnership Agreements.

In an interview at the conference, Mr Soumen Ray, the High Commissioner of India to Uganda added that the institute is intended to build a strong human resource base to boost the export capacity of African nations. “Today, everyone is producing products. But a product is not the only thing, marketing the product is also important. So we will be building capacity in many areas. This will lead to job creation and help people market their products,” he said.

Mr Raymond Agaba, the commissioner foreign trade, Ministry of Trade and Commerce said by acquiring knowledge from India Ugandans were bound to improve their business practice. “When you copy how they conduct their business and affairs, things are bound to change because they are done differently.”