Entebbe, London trade hubs unveil opportunities for Ugandan exporters

Ugandan exporters of horticulture and other agricultural products are set to receive a boost with the launch of the Entebbe and London trade hubs, which is set for November this year. Upon being launched, the two hubs will exhibit Ugandan products such as coffee, chocolate, leather products, sugar, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, beef and poultry. The hubs will also act as centres of inquiry about Uganda’s tourism and hospitality.

Last month, President Yoweri Museveni officially unveiled the first Uganda Connect trade hub in Belgrade, Serbia, which is part of efforts to strengthen trade partnerships and increase the country’s international trade presence. The hub in Belgrade is focused on products, such as coffee, vanilla, cocoa, tea, beef, flowers, banana flour, fruits and vegetables. The hubs, which have been spearheaded by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) and the Coffee Consortium Companies of Uganda (CICU), are part of a plan to increase Uganda’s exports to $6b in the next five years.

Dr James Kanyije, the chief executive officer of KK Foods, who is also the head of Fruits and Horticulture Exports at PACEID, said after setting up the Entebbe trade hub, they will set up one in London, then Dubai, Chicago and Milan next year. “We are targeting countries which are net importers of Ugandan products. These will house Ugandan  consumer foods and products in addition to fruits and vegetables,” Kanyije said in a recent interview.

He noted that the hubs will also target people in transit, who will just dash in and pick a cup of freshly brewed Ugandan coffee, among other products.

“All those hubs will also be information dissemination points where visitors will get literature about Uganda’s tourism attraction landmarks, maps, flora and fauna, all aimed at endearing Uganda to other people. They will additionally display Uganda’s organic products and varieties of coffee,” Kanyije said.

The hubs will also be fitted with big screens, which will display firms producing Ugandan products and contacts in case one is interested in forming a joint venture. The hubs are aimed at showcasing Uganda’s abundant agricultural products and unlocking numerous trade opportunities for international investors.

“The potential is huge and runs in billions of dollars in annual exports, if well exploited. The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has already provided space in the area between the arrivals and departures for the hub to be erected,” Kanyije said.

He added that he has launched a campaign to advocate for putting coffee machines at different public places so that as many Ugandans as possible can take up the tradition of coffee consumption.

Odrek Rwabwogo, the PACEID chairperson, said the trade hubs will help the country to retool its global trade structure and raise more revenue for the Government, while at the same time creating jobs for young people. “They will also display Ugandan products in source markets and provide information about local manufacturers across the 13 sectors of the economy and how they can either supply or link with global companies,” he said.

Rwabwogo said the push for enforcement of standards, improvement of infrastructure and the recently commissioned Trade Frontier Fund (TFF), are all meant to help the private sector to do seamless business with the outside world.

“We have obtained partners who are ready to buy our soluble or instant coffee. It is just a matter of time before the export of Ugandan raw green coffee beans is completely eliminated. This is because all the locally produced coffee will be absorbed by soluble coffee plants, which will roast it and ship it to supermarkets around the world at a premium price,” Rwabwogo revealed.

In the long run, he said, products, such as avocado will be used in local factories to produce medicine and body lotions, among others.


Recently released figures by the finance ministry indicate that Uganda’s export volumes and earnings are at their highest in a period of three years. This is as a result of the recent export promotion campaigns. This move is likely to boost Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings. The merchandise exports for June this year reached $650.57m (sh2.4 trillion), marking an 11.1% increase compared to the $585.81m (sh2.2 trillion) recorded in May this year. This surge, according to the finance ministry, is primarily attributed to the remarkable increase in export revenues from various products, including beans,  simsim, cotton, coffee and gold as reported by the performance of the economy monthly report of July. The report indicates that earnings from coffee exports increased from $73m (sh270b) in May to $90m (sh333b) recorded in June.

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