Saudi Arabia imported from Uganda goods worth US$. 6.85million – H.E Isaac Ssebulime

H.E Isaac Ssebulime Uganda’s Ambassador To Saudi Arabia At The Uganda Saudi Arabia Coffee Expo

Honourable Minister,

Your Excellency the President of the Council of Saudi Chambers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me on the outset pay tribute to our leaders; H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and HRH. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for their leadership which has guaranteed peace in the two countries and ensured continued warm and cordial relations.  It is because of their efforts that we are now discussing business and other matters of socio-economic transformation.

I also wish to thank the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Al-haji Jeje Abubaker Odongo for accepting to grace this function.  We are encouraged by his presence and support.

We are grateful to the President, the Secretary General and Staff of the Federation of Saudi Chambers for the partnership, encouragement and support for this project.  Mr. Secretary General, we promise to knock on your door many more times as we seek to increase trade between our two countries.  Indeed, as I mentioned to H.E. the President of the Federation, our next visit will be to initiate arrangements to create the Saudi-Uganda Business Council.  We believe this will be the ultimate vehicle to drive business between our two brotherly states.

This is a historical occasion as, for the first time, Businessmen from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uganda have come together to chart ways of increasing trade between the two Countries.  What is even more significant is that we are targeting Coffee, which is not only a commodity but an item of cultural significance in the two countries.  It occupies a special position in human relations in our communities.

Robusta Coffee has its origin in Uganda.  Hence, the country has evolved some of the best husbandry practices anywhere in the world leading to production of 7million 60kg bags.  Equally, Coffee occupies a key cultural role in relations among individuals, communities and clans.  When mutually shared it serves to consolidate relations and it is the first item on the menu for that special visitor in any home.  Correspondingly, a visitor to a Saudi family or home will be given a warm cup of Coffee.  To accept this Coffee and share it with your host is to share in the warmth of his or her hospitality.  It indicates that the visitor is welcome and should as a consequence feel at home.  This is the cultural standing of Coffee in the cultures of our two nations.  Most importantly, it is becoming a lifestyle beverage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This is a specialty segment that Uganda can service.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE Database, Saudi Arabia imported from Uganda goods worth US$. 6.85million in 2019.  Uganda imported from Saudi Arabia goods worth US$. 33.23million in the same year.  While the Kingdom had a larger variety of goods in her export basket Uganda did not.  The latter exporting primary products like Coffee, minerals, tea, cut flowers and the like.  Despite its abundance in Uganda, Coffee was less than US$ 1million worth of this total.  Our common membership of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), notwithstanding the level of trade between the two countries is still very low.  This Expo is the first step in correcting this anomaly.  Coffee holds a prime position in this effort.

Finally, I wish to invite the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, Gen. Al-haji Jeje Abubaker Odongo to address the meeting.  I wish you all good deliberations.

Thank You.

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