The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry-UNCCI has pledged to strengthen and grow trade with Algeria.
This will include harnessing investment and trade opportunities between the two countries, and exchange of ideas, and information between local businesses and Algerian counterparts.
These commitments were made during the visit of the Algerian business delegation to the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce in Mulago on Thursday, May 19, 2022, where they engaged with the private sector.
Samuel Musoke Majwega, the Vice president, of UNCCI, affirmed the commitment to work together with the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and stakeholders encouraging joint projects and associations to strengthen relations between both countries.
“We have received at least twenty business people from the Algerian business community. Some of them are from sectors like ICT, tourism, value addition, and industrialization among others. They are looking for whom to partner with within Africa,” said Majwega.
Speaking at the business council, the Commissioner of Finance and Planning at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Paul Okitoi, said this was a chance for government entities to showcase business opportunities to the business community from Algeria
Okitoi noted that the Ministry has enormous opportunities ranging from the petroleum subsector, energy subsector, and the mineral subsector. For the mineral subsector, there is the enormous potential for natural resources, and materials distributed across the country.
“For example, [there are] 300 metric tons of iron ore deposits in Kabale and this can be used for turning around the iron and steel industry in the country. We have over two billion deposits of iron ore and Marble in Karamoja and this can be used for developing the construction industry, and the cement industry.
Through this value addition, the government will be able to generate a string of jobs across different value chains, generate incomes, and taxes, and increase exports hence reducing the balance of payment deficits in the country,” said Okitoi.
On his part, Deus Muhwezi, from the Ministry of Agriculture, indicated plans of processing powdered milk to penetrate the Algerian market.
With an agrarian economy, Uganda’s major sector is agriculture as a source of income and investment. The export revenues are up to 53% for over 10 years and there are over 4.2 million smallholder farmers
Currently, Uganda is producing 3billion liters of milk annually in the dairy subsector. The dairy has grown getting close to South Africa but penetrating markets with Uganda’s milk is still a challenge, according to Muhwezi.
He said currently the ministry is into plans of processing and package the milk into powdered milk and high-end milk products like ghee to be able to penetrate the market in Algeria and South Africa.
“We would like to see strong partnerships with Algeria in value addition to Ugandan milk in the Dairy Sector,” he said.
The fisheries subsector is a potential agricultural opportunity as well, with export revenue up to USD 143 Million. Aquaculture development such as cage farming, fish feed manufacturing; fish breeding, and so on can be done since Uganda has 20% of its surface area like water.
This is a prime investment opportunity for Algeria for they will be earning, as well as providing employment opportunities for both Ugandans and Algerians. With high market value, the fish exported from Uganda is in high demand within the region and worldwide. Therefore, the investment in fish growing and exportation is substantial.
Cherif Oualid, Ambassador of the Republic of Algeria said Ugandans can also go and invest in Algeria.
“There was a rule of a 49 percent for shares for foreign investors however this rule is changing now. The government is doing its best to help this one-stop center facilitate investors. Right now there is a meeting brainstorming about it to improve on the incentives of the beat of investment. This will be soon passed into law,” Oualid said.
Both Representatives from the National Chambers of Commerce of Uganda and Algeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding of business trade that could spur trade and investments Last year in June 2021.
Uganda has managed to export a number of items to Algeria including milk, coffee, beef, poultry, and other agricultural products but the exports are still low yet the demand curve is gradually moving upward.
The export earnings from Algeria are still low, standing at $2M according to the Bank of Uganda’s report 2020.