Full of dreams, Moonir Ahmed left Uganda for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in search of greener pastures in the early 2000s. Soon after his arrival in the UAE city, he says he found a job in the logistic section at Alshaya Group.
Ahmed is grateful that he found a well-paying job, which has enabled him achieve several of his dreams.
He maintains a strong connection with other Ugandans in the diaspora, especially those in the UAE, who are equally successful after getting jobs in the Arab country.
Ahmed’s story reflects that of many Ugandan currently working in the UAE.
At least 16,397 Ugandans left the country between January and February in search of employment, according to data from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The details are contained in a Ministry of Gender migrant labour report that covers at least six years from 2016 and part of 2022.
The report indicates that at least an average of 24,086 Ugandans leave Uganda annually in search of employment, especially to the Middle East.
In the last six years, the report indicates, Saudi Arabia has been the destination of choice for many Ugandans searching for employment with the country taking a total of 126,873, which represents at least 75.2 percent of total migrant workers in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is followed by United Arab Emirates, which in the last six years has taken in 19,671 workers followed by Qatar with an intake of 8,089.
The UAE is deemed a good trading partner for Uganda. It is the link between Uganda and the Middle-East, and an important centre for Ugandan exports destined for the Americas and Europe, as well as for Asia, specially, Japan and China.
Uganda, on the other hand, is considered a main port for UAE exports to the Great Lakes region.
Uganda and the UAE have signed economic agreements in the past, including in the areas of taxation, aviation services, investments, among others, to enhance the relations and the cooperation between the two countries.
Uganda has established diplomatic ties with the UAE, which have seen Uganda establish an embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
The strong relations between the two countries has led to a vibrant commercial and economic relationship between the two states, according to government officials.
Uganda exports a number of items to the UAE, including crops such as coffee, cotton and tea, as well as other agricultural products such as meat and milk. Uganda also exports precious metals to the UAE.
All these have boosted Uganda’s economy coupled with improved economic diplomacy between the two countries.
There are many investors in Uganda from the UAE, particularly in tourism, hotel, energy, petroleum, gold extraction, and infrastructure/transportation projects.