Museveni commends Serbia relations, makes case for Uganda’s coffee   

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday met the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Dr Vladimir Orlić.

During the meeting at the National Assembly located at 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Belgrade, President Museveni recalled the important moments of the common history of the two countries and their common struggle for freedom and independence, stressing that Serbia and Uganda should continue their struggle for progress and an even better future for their citizens.

“Marshal Tito (former president of Yugoslavia) supported the anti-colonial struggle in Africa and, although a socialist, refused to be part of the Soviet-Sino quarrels of that time. We appreciated him so much and when he died, a delegation of the post-Amin government, of which I was part, came to take part in the funeral. I think it was led by Professor Nabudere,” Museveni said.

He also told the National Assembly President that Uganda as a country has succeeded well in some sectors of the economy and is now determined to cover the whole spectrum, starting with coffee.

“We want the fair-minded outsiders to work with us to add value to our coffee at source, so that instead of getting only $2.5 per kilogramme of good coffee, we share more out of the $40 per kilogramme of the processed coffee,” President Museveni said.

“This is where the Serbians and other fair-minded people should join us by doing two things: Co-invest with us or invest alone in coffee roasting, grinding and packaging in Uganda; and the Serbian Government should remove the 25% tax on processed coffee and so should the other governments of Europe, Asia and the US.

The Africans, in the last 600 years, have done a lot to support the prosperity of others as slave-labourers, as raw-materials producers in the colonial and neo-colonial eras and also with our purchasing power (our pockets) buying products from the US, Europe, Japan and China, among others.  It is high time the pockets or wallets of the US, Europe, China, Japan, etc., also supported our prosperity,” he added.

President Museveni reiterated during the meeting that Uganda firmly stands behind the decision not to recognise the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called “Kosovo”, for which Orlić thanked him.

Orlić welcomed the visit of a great friend of Serbia (President Museveni), describing it as significant for the further improvement of bilateral relations, which this year marks six decades of establishment.

The National Assembly President also disclosed that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, was working around the clock to ensure peace and stability in the country despite the existing Kosovo threat. 

Orlić further expressed his gratitude to Uganda for supporting the candidacy of the Republic of Serbia as the host of Expo 2027, as well as the satisfaction of the opening of Uganda Trade Hub – Uganda Connect – in Belgrade.

He noted that Serbia will send a team of scientists to Uganda to identify more possible areas of cooperation between the two countries.

“Serbia remains truly committed to the further development of relations and cooperation with all African countries, which includes Uganda to which we are bound by traditional closeness, mutual understanding and the same aspirations.”

The meeting was also attended by Dragan Županjevac, the Ambassador of Serbia to Uganda and Sanja Lakić, the President of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Uganda, as well as MPs.

The Ugandan delegation included, among others; science, technology and innovation minister Monica Musenero, foreign affairs state minister Henry Okello Oryem, trade state minister Harriet Ntabazi, agriculture state minister for animal industry Bright Rwamirama, senior presidential advisor on special operations Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and Ambassador of Uganda in Serbia Elizabeth Paula Napejok.

The occasion marked the last official meeting of President Museveni in Serbia as he concludes his visit to the European country.

Uganda Connect trade hub

The Uganda Connect trade/business hub is aimed at strengthening the bilateral relations between Uganda and Serbia and paving the way for the country’s goods and services in the Balkans region. 

Launching the facility on Sunday, President Museveni thanked his host, President Aleksandar Vucic and his government for giving Uganda a chance to promote her exports in the European country. 

“There is some amount of drinking coffee in Serbia and in this part of the world; Russia and other places, so, we want to promote our coffee to come here processed,” Museveni said. 

He also explained that the hub will be used to put together a contact point from where you can get what all you need and all the linkages. “The hub makes the address simpler for anybody looking for anything to buy from Uganda”. 

Museveni thanked the people of Uganda, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) team led by Odrek Rwabwogo and other stakeholders for playing an important role that has enabled Uganda to achieve the milestone of promoting its agricultural products in the wider world. 

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