Uganda’s President Museveni Re-echoes Values Addition to Exports as Country Marks 60 Years of Independence

President Yoweri Museveni re-echoed his message on value addition as the East African country marked 60 years of independence.

Museveni, in his speech on October 9, said the Pearl of Africa was being cheated by exporting raw material yet it could earn more foreign exchange through exporting finished products.

He referred to one of the targets developed in the past that was leaned on to catapult Uganda’s economy to greater heights; “Building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy”. 

The President said: “…one of Africa’s problems has been the curse of confining itself to the export of raw-materials where we always get less than 10% of the actual value of the end product out of those raw-materials.”

“Since 1986, I have been trying to get investors to add value to our coffee. Our farmers are paid an equivalent of $70 cents per kg of low-grade coffee.  The same kilogramme, when roasted, ground into powder and packaged, it sells for $12.9 in a supermarket,” the president said.

The head of state also referred to iron ore which was being exported in raw form yet “Uganda has got the purest iron ore in the world – 70% pure.”

“We have now, finally, got investors that are ready to build a  vertically integrated steel industry that will produce high strength products that we need for hydro-power dams, for high-rise buildings, for the standard gauge railway and for our auto-mobile and military industries,” the President said.  

Earlier, the President urged manufacturers to use local names for Ugandan products if they are to promote the country further.

He cited an example of Tooke which is a flour made from bananas. The flour has limited carbohydrates and fat levels compared to wheat. The raw flour is used as baking flour to make biscuits, cakes, pastry and porridge.

Tooke is already featuring on supermarket stalls in Europe and the United States as well as various African countries.

Uganda’s Secretary to the Treasury Ramathan Ggoobi agrees with the President on value addition in order to compete on the international arena.

However, he calls for support to “those firms that have invested into things like Good African Coffee, Nucafe”.

“Private sector agencies such as Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Uganda Manufacturers Association need to take on this role,” he told local media.

Destination for Ugandan products

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Uganda mainly exports goods to Middle East, East African Community, European Union, Asia, US and other African countries.

In 2021, “Middle East continued to be the leading destination of Uganda’s formal exports followed by EAC, European Union, other African countries and Asia,” UBOS said in its report then.

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