Ugandan coffee ranked high as Museveni seeks to bolster European and American markets

KAMPALA – Ugandan coffee will soon find its way to the European Balkan States market following a concerted effort by President Yoweri Museveni to bolster Uganda’s trade links beyond Africa, a continent stricken by poverty despite possessing various natural resources, including fertile soils and minerals.

The new development comes after Museveni, who was in the United Kingdom commissioned trade envoys into the Balkan States, tasking the commercial diplomats to find markets for Ugandan products, especially Arabica and Robusta coffee types that the country grows.

While meeting investors in the European Union [EU] at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, Museveni urged them to come and invest in Uganda, singling out agriculture and ICT sectors as worthwhile ventures the Europeans can undertake in the country also known as the Pearl of Africa.

“We have a young population that is ready to engage in production, due to the good climate, and soils, while those yawning for technological development are a huge number, all presenting a fertile ground for investment,” Museveni remarked.

It is during the same breakfast organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development together with the Commonwealth Enterprise Council, that Museveni commissioned trade envoys who will represent Uganda in European as well as American markets.

The President Commissioned Bratislava Stoiljkovic to take charge of the Ugandan product in the Balkan States market.

The bloc has countries like Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, and Greece. Others include Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Turkey, all with a combined GDP per capita of over US$ 10,000, with a growing coffee market of at least 42 percent.

In the year 2020/21 the block reportedly consumed coffee worth at least US$ 1 billion amidst the strained economic situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Balkan States bloc is also famous for its highly developed food processing industry and huge investment into the technological sector.

Uganda has been grappling with the challenge of finding more markets for its coffee as it increases local production. Much of the product goes into the European Union Market with a large bulk of it ending up in the UK, German and Italian markets.

The chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development Odrek Rwabwogo remarked that the partnerships with the envoys would create the much-desired confidence in Ugandan products, and make linkages that would grow over time to support the country’s economic agenda.

“These partnerships with the envoys are what we needed to unlock the different potentials in our economy. These would establish business councils in each of these markets, trust generated and reputation developed,” he said.

Other envoys commissioned include Mark Pursey who takes on the United Kingdom market drive, while Codey Lawrence and Olive Kamanzi would lead the search for markets in the American economy with a base in Chicago, Illinois.

Uganda has had a working international trade policy with the US, where at least 6,000 trade products produced within the country are permissible into the USA market on a quota and tax-free basis.

The deputy chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Lord Hugo Swire commended President Museveni’s efforts to engage investors in a multifaceted approach as a drive to develop the country’s economy, but also establish strong linkages for sustainable trade.

The event was also attended by Uganda’s High Commissioner to UK Nimisha Madhvani and UK’s trade envoy to Uganda, Lord Dolar Popat.

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