Over 200 public, private players to attend Uganda-South Sudan summit

South Sudan’s Ambassador to Uganda, Simon Duku Micheal (L) reacts as he greets Uganda's Ambassador to South Sudan Ronnie Balya.

What you need to know:

  • Already, more than 100 companies have registered to participate and exhibit their products at this forum, the first of its kind between the two countries

About 250 players are expected to be part of the Uganda - South Sudan business summit that will take place in Juba.

The organisers who include, Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), said the meeting starts on Monday to Wednesday and is being spearheaded by the Ugandan Embassy in South Sudan. 

Already, more than 100 companies have registered to participate and exhibit their products at this forum, the first of its kind between the two countries. 

The sectors to showcase at the event include manufactured goods, banking and financial services, ICT, insurance, pharmaceuticals, tourism and hospitality, construction, education, health services, transport and aviation. professional services, agribusiness, horticultural products, entertainment and film production services, media services, dairy and poultry, fish, confectioneries, fortified foods, packaging services, petroleum products, health care, cosmetics and beauty care products will be part of the show.

The conference has been themed, “Enhancing Bilateral Trade and Investment through Industrialization and Infrastructure Development”.

Some of the associations and agencies to attend are Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), Federation of Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (FSME), Uganda Shippers Council, Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), National Cultural Forum (NCF), KACITA, Uganda National Chamber of Commerce, Hortifresh, ICT Association, Uganda Health Federation (UHF).

"The event will be attended by officials from the Embassy of Uganda to South Sudan, the Embassy of South Sudan to Uganda, Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of both countries, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control under Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry of East African Affairs, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Bureau of Standards, the Uganda Export Promotion Board and Uganda Airlines" PSFU said in a statement.

 PSFU has since January facilitated and organized trade and business missions to Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and recently to Kinshasa and Goma in the DRC.

"The South Sudan- Uganda Business Forum will be a private sector-driven event which will engage both the public sector and business partners from both countries through information sharing, working sessions, business-to-business interactions, government-to-business interactions and a business exhibition to showcase South Sudan and Uganda business companies. It will focus on solutions to business challenges and opportunities to boost trade and investment relations between private and public sector stakeholders," PSFU added.

Both Uganda and South Sudan are members of the East African Community (EAC) major Regional Organizations. South Sudan is also one of Uganda’s biggest trading partners with trade volumes amounting to over $400 million dollars and this Business Forum aims at increasing trade volumes to $ 1billion annually.

Ugandan ambassador to South Sudan Gen Ronnie Balya, while launching the Business Forum hailed the excellent bilateral relations between Uganda and South Sudan. He appreciated the efforts of the two Embassies for originating the idea.

"I am convinced that working together will not only improve our cordial bilateral relations but also greatly improve the livelihoods of our two people," he said.

He also emphasized the need for business people to discuss challenges and identify opportunities to promote trade and investment in both South Sudan and Uganda. 

“This is one of the strategic frameworks for the private sector to grow our markets, increase jobs and business opportunities,” said PSFU chairman Elly Karuhanga.

The Chief Executive Officer of PSFU, Stephen Asiimwe, said the Foundation is committed to continue with the priority of looking for markets for our business people. Opening new markets for our business people will trigger new employment opportunities, especially for our unemployed youth, in Uganda. 

"With the support from the Mastercard Foundation and UNDP, at least six lead firms have benefited from business development support to participate and exhibit at the forum. These companies include Farm Uganda, Grain Pulse, Delight Uganda Ltd, Macdough Foods Ltd, Nice House of Plastics and Newman foods Ltd. Opening new markets for them will lend them the opportunity to provide more youth employment opportunities."

"Therefore, we are partners in this forum to ensure that we promote trade for our products and services. He added that we have been informed that the target sector areas are; trade and commerce, mining sector, tourism sector, textiles, and oil and gas," Asiimwe said.

South Sudan is one of Uganda’s major trade partners in the East African Community (EAC). Exports from Uganda to South Sudan have increased at an annualized rate of 46%, from $17.3m in 2012 to $357m in 2020. South Sudan exports goods worth $850m and imports goods and services worth $1.1b.

The top imports of South Sudan are Motor cars and other motor vehicles; principally designed for the transport of people ($78.5m), Vehicles; for the transport of goods ($52.3m), Food preparations not elsewhere specified or included ($45.9m), Grain sorghum ($38.7m), and Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form (US$35.9M), importing mostly from Uganda (US$357M), Kenya (US$216M), United Arab Emirates (US$192M), China (US$156M), and United States (US$38.9M).