South African businesses operating in Uganda have formed a forum to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
Christened the Forum for South African Businesses in Uganda, the association is expected to carry out a survey on how many jobs are created for Ugandans, revenue contributed to the economy and skills training for local business communities. All these are aimed at boosting trade.
In his keynote address to a delegation of South African businessmen on an outward investment mission to Uganda in Kampala yesterday, South African High Commissioner to Uganda Lekoa Mollo said: “This forum will also look into how they would facilitate Ugandan businessmen to have footprints in South Africa”.
He said South Africa considers Uganda as its strategic economic partner because of its location and link to the Great lakes region.
Because of this, he said: “I call on you South African business community to do business with Uganda because it will allow you to strengthen and spread your relations with other countries in Eastern Africa.”
He challenged both Uganda and South African businessmen to seize the opportunity and not be left out of what he called the new scramble for Africa.
“This meeting is for Africans who are trying to get African solutions for African problems and this will be acquired through trading with each,” Mr Mollo added.
Uganda’s state minister of Trade David Wakikona in his speech read by the principal commissioner for trade in charge of Comesa, Mr Claupas Ndorere, said there is still a trade imbalance, especially that Uganda’s only exports including cotton, fish fillet and tobacco are exported in raw form with no or little value added.
He called upon South African investors to help Uganda add value to its exports.