Dubai Expo was worth our political weight there

Saturday October 09 2021

President Yoweri Museveni at the opening ceremony of the Uganda National Day during the World Trade Expo in Dubai, UAE. Photo | PPU

By Guest Writer

John Miller once said: “A good leader is a great marketer and good marketing means consistently delivering real value to customers.” There is a group of Ugandans, including some Opposition politicians, that have been ridiculing and criticising Uganda’s delegation at the 2020 Dubai Expo. 

Firstly, they criticised the President and ministers who have participated in the Expo, asserting that the latter are in the Arab city to  just to enjoy tax payers’ money.

The critics went ahead to disparage what we are showcasing at the Expo and also compare it to other countries such as  Rwanda that had pavilion visitors tour their country virtually using Artificial Intelligence.  

I would like to commend our neighbour (Rwanda) for her technological advancement. However, I will strongly appreciate our delegation led by President Museveni for their strategic move of marketing Uganda as a secure country, ripe for investment, ready for profit-driven business and promoting Uganda’s products to the world, which our neighbours could not afford to showcase. 

Ugandans should realise that this was not just a matter of products,  but marketing Uganda to the world as an investment hub. 

When Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received President Museveni for the Dubai Expo 2020, he expressed interest in benefiting from the latter’s leadership experience and knowledge, especially on security issues. This statement alone has attracted a big Dubai business community to invest in Uganda. 


But critics do not understand that if Uganda had also showcased robots, it would mean  that all of us are fighting for the same customers.

In any case, people will always need to eat unlike robotics that some countries prefer from first world countries.  The logic behind this move is intended to promote what we have and can constantly produce to the world market. The sense of showcasing products means that you can carry a few products for when potential customers visit your production centre.

It is for this reason that our display had a few products of good quality with high levels of continuous exportation to the Dubai markets. 

The Ugandan delegation at the Expo held a Business Forum meeting with the United Arab Emirates business community and discussed matters of trade, business, investment and tourism. 

When the President returned to Uganda, he revealed that he had gone to Dubai to ‘Okusaka’ meaning to lobby for Ugandans; something which has resulted in various agreements signed. 

In just a few days, Uganda Investment Authority has signed a deal worth $4b with investors interested in mining, renewable energy, agriculture, business parks, pharmaceuticals, construction, storage terminals, fruit processing, infrastructure project and commercial farming. 

Showcasing our coffee  is a good promotion strategy because about 3.5 million people derive their livelihood from the coffee sector. Coffee also contributes nearly 30 percent of our total export earnings. In terms of taste, it is the most highly demanded Ugandan product in Dubai, America, Netherlands, China and many more countries. 

 Meanwhile Uganda’s fresh fruits and vegetables are also steadily increasing on the export earning of the country because there is a huge demand for our food stuff in the Middle East and Europe. However, the public should be advised not to criticise their motherland. 

The results of what is being showcased in the Dubai Expo 2020 are tangible and will benefit Ugandans. We should always remember that our team is marketing what we have and can continuously supply the world market. 

By David Serumaga
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