The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gen. Al-Haji Abubakhar Jeje Odongo, has reiterated Government of Uganda’s commitment to increase Coffee exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Minister made these remarks while presiding over the Official opening ceremony of the 1st Uganda-Saudi Arabia Expo themed “The Uganda Coffee industry perspective: farming, processing and exports” which aims at increasing the volume of exported coffee and coffee products from Uganda to Saudi-Arabia.
The one-day Hybrid event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ugandan Mission in Saudi-Arabia in conjunction with, the Council of Saudi Chambers, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
The Minister commended the efforts of H.E. Isaac Ssebulime and the staff of the Uganda Embassy in Riyadh for convening this event noting that this is in fulfillment of the Ministry’s deliberate policy to pursue Economic and Commercial Diplomacy in a bid to strengthen bilateral trade with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Hon. Odongo further highlighted that Uganda’s export of coffee and coffee to Saudi Arabia is US$419,000noted that this figure needs to improve because Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing Coffee market in the Middle East.
He informed that H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, directed the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to accelerate the coffee production from 3.5M 60kg to 20M by 2025. The Minister noted that the Saudi Arabia market is projected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2% during 2021-2027 which will present an opportunity for businessmen and women from both countries.
In his opening remarks, H.E Isaac Ssebulime Biruma Uganda’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia noted that this was a historical occasion for the first time, Businessmen from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uganda have convened to chart ways of increasing trade between the two Countries.
The Ambassador further paid tribute to 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. He noted that it is because of their capable leadership that discussions to promote business and other matters of socio-economic transformation are being held.
Amb. Ssebulime appreciated the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Al-haji Jeje Abubakhar Odongo for accepting to grace the function and officiating the Opening ceremony as well as reiterating Government of Uganda’s commitment to increase coffee exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He also commended the President, the Secretary General and Staff of the Federation of Saudi Chambers for the partnership, encouragement and support for this project to increase trade. He noted that this will initiate arrangements to create the Saudi-Uganda Business Council which will be the ultimate vehicle to drive business between two brotherly states.
The CEO, Inspire Africa Coffee, Nelson Tugume, representing the private sector appreciated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for opening up Uganda’s missions to the private sector in a way of promoting Commercial Diplomacy.
The event registered remarkable success with a virtual attendance of over 500 participants and informative presentations were made by The Executive Manager, International Relations who represented the Federation of Saudi Chambers, Dr. Ian Clarke representative of Uganda Coffee Exporters, A Representative from the Islamic Development Bank to mention but a few.
It was concluded with a coffee tasting and cupping ceremony conducted by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) for participants to enjoy freshly brewed Ugandan coffee.