Uganda to cooperate with Saudi Arabia on coffee trade 

President Yoweri Museveni has met and held discussions with the Royal Court Advisor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Bin Abdul- Aziz Kattan.

During the Tuesday meeting at State House Entebbe, the two leaders discussed trade and investment opportunities that could be undertaken by the two countries.

The President requested Kattan that Saudi Arabia should get interested in adding value to Uganda’s coffee.

“I want you to invest in coffee processing. We lose a lot of money from selling raw coffee, we get only $2.5 per kilogram instead of $40. It is like oil the way it was in the past where a barrel of oil in 1969 was 40 cents, it was not even $1. When there was the Arab-Israeli war in 1973, that is when there was a boycott and a barrel went to $40,” Museveni explained.

“That was the beginning of the petrodollars. That is how some wealth moved from Western Europe to the oil producing countries. This is the same problem with these other raw materials like coffee,” he added.

The President reiterated that it would be a good idea if Kattan could identify and get Uganda a company that will be able to process coffee here, further assuring him that there was a ready market for the agricultural product world over.

“The global business for coffee is $460 billion but the coffee producing countries; all of us, we share only $25 billion out of the $460 billion and Africa shares $2.4 billion. Germany, a non-coffee producing country, earns more from coffee than the whole of Africa. It earns $6.4 billion,” Museveni stressed.

“So, if you can get me a company which can roast coffee here, grind and pack, it will be good. I was in Serbia; they are ready to buy our processed coffee but even the Americans if we process it they will buy it because we have got an agreement with them- AGOA,” he added.

On his part, Kattan assured the President that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was ready to cooperate with Uganda in terms of investment.

“I mentioned to the Minister of Foreign Affairs that we would like to increase the investment with Uganda so if you have any projects, you like Saudi Arabia to support with, we would like to receive a study. You can send it to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, they will send it to us,” he said.

Kattan also extended an invitation to the President to visit Saudi Arabia to attend two forthcoming summits scheduled to take place in their capital of Riyadh.

“As you know Mr. President, we are going to host two African summits; Saudi Arabia Summit and the Arab-Africa summit and on behalf of my government, I would like you to be there. We will send the invitation very soon,” he said.

“No problem, we shall definitely come,” President Museveni responded in the affirmative.

The President also met the Algerian Minister of Commerce and Export Promotion, Tayeb Zitouni at the sidelines of the ongoing G-25 Africa Coffee Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

He told the delegation led by Tayeb that Africa, Uganda inclusive has supported Europe economically, but the Western countries have not properly reciprocated the favour.

“You know when I buy from you something, I’m supporting your prosperity and we have been using our pockets for the last 200 years to support Europeans by buying their vehicles, buying their aero-planes and medicines. When we say that okay you support us also by adding value to our coffee and you pay us more, they don’t understand it,” the President said.

“Therefore, what I propose are joint ventures. The country will get more money from coffee through the joint venture than what we are getting now for raw coffee. It will be a win-win situation and then create more jobs. That is why we want our Northern African friends and those from the Middle East to come and cooperate with us in this $25 share,” he added.

Tayeb welcomed President Museveni’s proposal, saying that as a country they are willing to join the venture.

“Businesspeople are coming here in September to look through the possible cooperation. We consume coffee worth $300 million per year.  We progressed on importing milk from Uganda and we shall also see what we can do with coffee value addition,” he assured the President.

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