Launch of Uganda Airlines flights to Dubai a game changer

Works ministry officials, Uganda Airlines staff and journalists board one of the two Airbus A330 aircraft at Entebber airport runway during the ceremony to recieve the Air Operator Certificate recently. PHOTO / STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

  • The milestone was the official launch of the Uganda Airlines flights to United Arab mirates on October 9, in Dubai at the Uganda’s Dubai Expo.

Building on the gains from the official opening of the Dubai Expo 2020, Uganda has continued to register key milestones. 

Basing on its four-mile journey strategy at the Expo, Uganda’s aviation industry recorded an important milestone that will serve to foster increased trade, investment and tourism between Uganda and United Arab Emirates  and the entire Middle East in general.

The milestone was the official launch of the Uganda Airlines flights to United Arab mirates on October 9, in Dubai at the Uganda’s Dubai Expo.

The launch of Uganda Airlines to Dubai comes as a result of the continued lobbying efforts by the Uganda embassy in UAE aimed at opening up the Dubai route for the country’s carrier. 

In mid this year the Embassy secured a flight permit for Uganda Airlines to fly to Dubai and this certainly was a big score for Uganda. 

Without a doubt, the Dubai route will become a game changer as it will not only increase on the Uganda’s exports volumes to the UAE, but also will increase the inflow of tourists from UAE to Uganda.

In the last three years, Uganda’s exports to UAE have grown from $600m (Shs2.1 trillion) to $1.5b (Shs5.4 trillion) today. With more cargo incentives to Uganda exporters there is a foreseeable likelihood of Uganda’s exports to UAE to grow further to at least $2.2b  (Shs7.9 trillion) in the next one year. 

However,  it must be noted that if Uganda is to fully exploit her export potential especially to the UAE, there is immediate need to address the current impediments such as lack of consistent supplies in terms of quantities and quality. 

A quick visit to the food markets and supermarkets in the UAE, one will observe that almost all the food products grown in Uganda can access the UAE market with almost no restriction. 

Sadly, you will find very few Ugandan products on the shelves as compared to the supplies from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. 

The glaring reason for this deficit is that Uganda’s exports cannot be supplied consistently in sufficient volumes and at the required and acceptable standards.

 Therefore, key stakeholders such as farmers, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) need to address the factors affecting consistent supplies of food products to UAE.

Some of the required interventions needed include setting up an agricultural bank to support farmers and exporters to be able to fully engage in large scale and meaningful farming. 

This will help enhance production and improve quality of products.
Local government too need to be supported in order to build capacity, offer requisite technical support to farmers to improve their agricultural practices.

In order to mitigate the current challenges of maintaining the freshness and integrity of the food products for export, there is need to increase  the cold storage facilities at the Entebbe Airport which can be accessed and rented by the exporters at a reasonably affordable cost.

On the other hand, the  Uganda Embassy in Dubai is leveraging on the ongoing expo by organizing four theme month promotions and exposure campaigns for Uganda’s targeted areas as follows tourism and Uganda/UAE convention, trade, industries and manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing and agribusiness, science and innovation.

Ugandans who are able to participate should take advantage of this exposure in order to enable our motherland reap maximum benefits from the expo.

 Zaake Kibedi ,    
 Uganda’s Ambassador to UAE

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