Uganda to Host 2nd Africa Coffee Summit

Delegations from 25 African coffee-producing countries and a number of consuming nations are due to gather in Uganda for the second G25 Africa Coffee Summit (ACS) next month.

The 3-day summit organized by the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) will run from August 7, at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, under the theme: “Transforming the African Coffee Sector through Value Addition” with the aim of promoting the commodity’s consumption mainly on the African continent.

First held in Nairobi, Kenya last year, it brings together heads of state, senior government ministers, heads of coffee authorities, senior ministers from African coffee-consuming countries and African private sector groups including farmers, processors, exporters, roasters and coffee associations.

According to IACO, top on agenda of the summit is the search for consensus on a declaration of coffee as a strategic commodity in line with the African Union Agenda 2063, which aims to promote value addition and domestic consumption by educating people about coffee and its health benefits.

At the Nairobi Summit, the Declaration on the adoption of coffee as a strategic Agricultural Commodity in the AU Agenda 2063 was signed off by Peter Munya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture who represented the then President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries, who represented the Chairman IACO.

They said that the adoption of coffee as a strategic commodity in the AU agenda gives Africa the leverage to address the challenges faced by the coffee farmers and other actors across the value chain under the auspices of the African Union to build a united and integrated Africa.

The summit also asked the AU Commission to “urgently develop an evaluation framework to track down the socio-economic impact on coffee farmers in relation to alleviating poverty and enact the AfCFTA to facilitate cooperation between African countries to encourage inter-African trade to explore the untapped coffee markets within Africa.”

The bid for increased coffee consumption on the African continent, as well as the formation of the G25 annual summit were prompted by the exit of Uganda early 2022 from the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) extension, an initiative of the International Coffee Organization, ICO.

Uganda accused the ICO of being run and influenced by global coffee consumers and processing countries which set unfair terms for producing countries like Uganda through unfair tariffs, restrictions on exporting processed coffee and an “unjust and outdated” coffee classification system that does not recognize ‘Ugandan Coffee’.

In a 2020 report, ICO found that processed coffee imported from Uganda was subject to a 60 percent tariff while other countries, including European Union, Norway, and Japan, pay as low as zero tariff.

At the time, President Yoweri Museveni urged African coffee producing countries to follow the example of Uganda and build a continental value supply chain, saying if African countries decided to consume African coffee, there would be little need of exporting the coffee to other regions.

Uganda is the second biggest producer after Ethiopia, but largest exporter, with about 6 million bangs a year worth about 850 million dollars.

The summit in Uganda will also be seeking ways to expand regional coffee trade under the framework of the AfCFTA, share knowledge about the eminent danger that climate change poses on coffee, as well as the effect that COVID 19 has had the sector.

“The privilege of hosting the 2nd African Coffee Summit in Uganda gives the country an unrivalled opportunity to market our coffee to a number of African countries, and deepen economic integration,” says UCDA Executive Director, Emmanuel Iyamuremye.

The summit provides a platform for African coffee-producing states and institutions to align the actions and commitments needed to build resilient agricultural systems that support the delivery of sustainable development goals.

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