President Museveni Saturday afternoon arrived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the 2020 Dubai Trade Expo. The Expo that will run up to March 31, 2022 was officially opened on October 1.
With him is a big contingent from the cabinet and the Ugandan business community all of whom are hoping to cut some kind of deal at one of the biggest trade conventions in the world.
His presence is intended to give the Ugandan delegation more than just clout at an event that has more than 190 countries and international organisations.
The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with three (3) sub-themes of “Mobility”, “Opportunity” and “Sustainability.” Uganda is participating under the “Opportunity” subtheme.
The event in itself was put back by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. For starters, the UAE is a place that has so many Ugandans doing all kinds of odd jobs.
While those jobs may not come with prestige, they bring in a lot of remittances that have changed the fortunes of many families.
Some of this, along with domestic workers in other Gulf States, has happened on the backdrop of reports of mistreatment and brutality by employers.
Labour export in itself has been criticised. But with a large population of youth here wallowing in unemployment, we do not yet have the tools to stop this exodus.
All we can do is set up some kind of training programs here so as to export relevant skills and not just bodies. In addition, seeking better agreements with the host countries.
Regardless of the impurities, UAE, a desert, is at a stage of development where many would desire to be as it’s ranked 24th in the world using the nominal GDP per capita measurement.
Their miracle started with the discovery of oil in the 1970s. Most of this oil has been utilised to improve the local economy.
Presently, the UAE economy, which was dependent on fishing in the 70s is now largely driven by the service sector.
President Museveni has been vocal about the need to invest in ICT and services.
Now is the time to walk the talk, Uganda must seek investment in those and to that add agro-processing especially coffee. Most of the people who visit Dubai are likely to taste coffee during their stay.
However, the benefits do not trickle down here since we still export ours raw. To this, the President has talked up simsim, dairy milk, and bananas.
Finding partners in these sectors will be much better than seeking donations.