Key Players: Uganda Export Promotions Board

Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) is the top national focal point solely for export promotion and development in the country.

According to Brenda Katarikawe Opus, the Senior Export Marketing Executive, the role of UEPB is to help traders export their products and services out of Uganda.

“We offer support services to exporters in Uganda and foreign buyers including market information, assistance with entering and establishing in new export markets, business linkages, export product development and capacity building,” Katarikawe said.

Katarikawe says exporting of goods and services beyond borders presents an alternative platform for companies to expand their markets.

“This process can, however, be challenging especially for the new entrants as it appears like a dark den,” she added.

“Exporting offers companies and sole proprietorships avenues for growth, increased sales and alternative markets however, one needs a marketable product, strong committed team and resources to compete outside home. Let UEPB help you test your readiness to enter global markets by advising and answering key questions,” Katarikawe says.

Background

UEPB was created by Statute No. 2 of 1996 and was mandated to coordinate all activities that would lead to export growth on a sustainable basis.

Supervised by the Ministry of Trade, UEPB is sensitive to the needs of the private sector, as a demonstration of Government’s commitment to the establishment of a free market economy, in which the private sector is the engine of growth.

UEPB is made up of a board, which is comprised of representatives from both the public and the private sectors.

“The Board’s day-to-day operations are executed through four Divisions with the overall management responsibility entrusted into the Executive Director, who is an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors,” the trade ministry says.

The board is charged with a number of functions including:

1.Market and product development: Under this function, the board “continuously undertakes market research, selection and entry strategies and activities.”

The ministry adds that the Board “also undertakes resource mapping, product selection, development and adaptation to target market requirements. The results are then disseminated on a regular basis to the export community through the Board’s information systems.”

2.  Trade Promotion Services: Activities undertaken under this function are primarily aimed at creating awareness about Uganda’s exports and export trade potential, as well as matching Ugandan and overseas business enterprises, through trade fairs, exhibitions, trade missions, according to the trade ministry.

3. Policy Advocacy: The Board monitors and analyses export policy development, and advises on possible intervention areas. “The organizational staff restructuring undertaken in 2003 recommended that this function be given significant attention because of the changing dynamics of international trade systems that call for continuous monitoring,” notes the ministry.

4. Human Resource Development: The trade ministry says that the board at UEPB should ensure there is continuous training of exporters to enable them to plan and manage export trade operations in such a manner that they are able to meet the ever-changing market standards and regulations.

“This role has now taken prominence in the Board’s activities because of the increasing sophistication of international trade operations. The other component of this function centres on continuous training of staff, to enable them offer efficient and professional service to clients.”

Key people at UEPB

Francis Mwebesa: He is the Minister of Trade. As there is currently no stand-alone board chairman, the Minister for Trade assumes the responsibilities and runs that office.

Dr. Elly Twineyo: He is the Executive Director of Uganda Export Promotion Board

Dr. Twineyo is an economist, an author on economic growth and practitioner in both international business and development management.

He is the co-founder of ACTADE (Africa Centre for Trade and Development) and has had a long career working in the private sector, donor projects, government, academia and civil society. He has made several presentations to business associations, academia and government and written several articles in in different media.

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