Uganda and Somalia signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) to enhance Trade, Investment and Tourism between the two countries.
The agreement that was signed at the inaugural Uganda-Somalia Investment Summit on Wednesday, August 10, was between Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Chairperson Mr Morison Rwakakamba and his counterpart from the Somalia Investment Promotion Office.
The MOU is valid for five years and shall be automatically renewed for successive five years unless terminated it shall be reviewed 9 months after it comes into force and a decision will be taken by UIA or SIPO on whether to continue the Cooperation.
According to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon Francis Mwebesa, the Uganda and Somalia MOU will boost both parties’ economic relations, particularly in trade, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and ICT manufacturing.
’The MOU foresees a strong Ugandan-Somalia Private sector collaboration through the private sector forum and the business forum. The Joint Permanent Cooperation that has been established will provide the overarching structure under which we will address Trade and Commercial matters of mutual interest,” he revealed.
He noted that signed Uganda and Somalia MOU gives effect to the Trade Component of Framework MOU that was signed in 2016.
Mwebesa invited the business community in Somalia to invest in Uganda since there is wider market access.
“The government of Uganda has put in place a conducive environment with opportunities in manufacturing, commercial agriculture, logistics, ICT, Energy, mining, petroleum, and services such as financial services, tourism and real estate,” said Mwebesa.
The five-year agreement will also promote cooperation between Uganda and Somalia enterprises by helping them search for productive partners and also foster the exchange of information among enterprises on technologies and know-how, and industrial consultancy.
In addition, the MOU will promote collaborations on education and skills development on mutually agreed priority sectors by facilitating partnerships and capacity-building workshops between Somalia Universities, and technical and vocational institutions with their Ugandan counterparts.
Since SOMINVEST is new to the areas of investment promotion, ICT, Manufacturing experience and other essential skills needed to promote robust foreign Direct Investment into and within Somalia, the UIA intends to provide capacity-building support in form of training, workshops, and study tour programs to learn and benefit from the Ugandan experience.
As Uganda and Somalia signed an MOU, they also agreed to engage in training and informative discussions regarding policies, investment opportunities, subsidies, local content standards, taxes, environmental standards, policy implementation, and policy reviews.
Commenting on the signed MOU, President Yoweri Museveni said they reiterated their commitment to the Somalian government in the fight against the terrorists and external players whose approaches are bent on frustrating the progress of business, peace and development of African states and their neighbours.
He said the business people are the most ‘useful’ group both economically and politically.
“Business people know the importance of a market; hence they cannot partake in discussions of sectarianism and the general politics of identity. They are pro-market integration. Business people sparked the unification of Germany because they wanted a united market; they supported Bismarck to unite Germany via the famous Franco-Prussian war. Therefore, business people in Somalia and Uganda can help unite both our countries and Africa,” the president noted.
According to Uganda’s Ambassador to Somalia H.E. Prof. Sam Tulya Muhika, in 2020 Uganda exported $ 676,000 to Somalia while Somalia exported goods worth $75,700 to Uganda.
“The main products that Uganda exported to Somalia were aircraft Parts, Rolled Tobacco, and Beer, while the following goods and services have market potential in Somalia; milk and cream (concentrated or containing added sugar), sugar and confectionaries, edible vegetables, ICT and Environmental sciences,” said Prof Muhika.
He added that Uganda’s exports to Somalia have increased at an annualized rate of 10.2%, from $65,000 in 1996 to $676,000 in 2020.
Over 2,500 Ugandans are working in Somalia (working for international NGOs, Embassies and private companies).
“The Embassy, in liaison with Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) in Kampala, handles an average of 1,000 visa applications per month for travel to Uganda,” he noted.
It should be noted that both Uganda and Somali are members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and more recently the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).