UN initiative seeks to support development of SMEs’ export capacity

Mr John Walugembe, the FSME executive director

What you need to know:

Penetrating continental markets remains a challenge for most small and medium enterprises, worsened by the outbreak of Covid-19, according to FSME

At least 300 small and medium enterprises will have an opportunity to trade their products across the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trading block, according to Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (FSME).

This, according to FSME, is expected to be achieved through utilizing funds provided by the United Nations Development Programme under the SMEs4Trade Initiative, a programme that seek to promote trade SME beyond regional blocs.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Kampala, Mr John Walugembe, the FSME executive director, noted SMEs account for a substantial amount of economic activity in Uganda, including a sizeable share of Uganda’s regional trade, therefore, he said, they must be support to help them penetrate the African Continental Free Trade Area.

   Penetrating continental markets remains a challenge for most small and medium enterprises, worsened by the outbreak of Covid-19, according to FSME.

Therefore, the initiative, which will be funded under a partnership between Ministry of Trade and FSME, will seek to support at least 300 small and medium enterprises to grow their export capacity to a level where they can compete with continental peers.

The support, according to FSME, will go towards improving production, trade process and export potential.

The initiative will also seek to create awareness about available opportunities for Ugandan exporters as well as explore new markets.  However, SMEs seeking to benefit initiative must to be registered with annual turnover of between Shs10m and Shs3b.

They will also be required to have been in operation for at least three years and must have export-ready products or services.

 Mr Walugembe also noted that priority will be given to youth and women-owned SMEs in Kampala, Wakiso, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Lira, Arua, Mbale and Jinja districts.

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