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Uganda-Somalia Relations: Stakeholders Move To Explore Untapped Opportunities In New MoU

Deputy Head of Mission at Uganda’s Embassy in Mogadishu, Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha.

The government of Uganda will explore untapped opportunities with Somalia following recent agreements by the two parties.

This as the two countries move to sign another four Memorandum of Understanding by the end of the year.

Officials says that the new direction is attributed to the just concluded Joint Permanent Commission meeting and the business and investment forum in Kampala.

“We were able to secure four MoUs signed and formalized the otherwise many things we were conducting informally. These areas of cooperation were in diplomatic and political consultation, cooperation in defence, Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in trade and investment and a MoU between the Uganda Investment Authority and Somalia’s investment body,” the Deputy Head of Mission at Uganda’s Embassy in Mogadishu, Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha, said.

Mugisha said the meeting has since opened doors, including new opportunities.

He confirmed that both countries are set to sign an MoU on immigration, customs, one between the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Somalia’s standards body but also fast track the bilateral air service agreement.

“These are MoU drafts to be signed between now and December. Uganda has invested heavily in stabilizing and pacifying Somalia and its therefore important to engage in commercial and economic diplomacy to reap in trade and investment opportunities.”

He explained that Uganda is currently proactively engaged in commercial diplomacy to exploit the prevailing Somalia and Uganda bilateral trade and investment opportunities.

“In this regard, we keep mobilizing the  business community in Uganda to explore a variety of opportunities in Somalia and likewise.”

According to Mugisha, there are vast untapped opportunities that can be exploited by Ugandans in Somalia and vice versa.

“Prospects for business between Uganda and Somalia are under-based in population sizes, production typology and imports for consumption as well as air-connectivity.”

For instance, he revealed that in 2020, Uganda exported goods worth  $ 676,000 to Somalia  and the main products included  aircraft parts ($544,000), Rolled Tobacco ($ 102,000), and beer ($ 16,000).

“In 2018, Somalia imported goods worth $ 2,406million, mainly food including tobacco, sugar and sugar confectionery, rice, packed juice, energy drinks, palm oil, pasta,  baking flour, chicken, eggs, natural honey, coffee, tea and spices, most of which Uganda produces. Others were fuel, construction materials and manufactured goods including fabric, footwear, pharmaceutical products, plastics, ceramic tile, plywood, timber, etc,” Mugisha noted.

On top of the above, records show that there are over 2,500 Ugandans working in Somalia for international NGOs, embassies and private companies whereas the embassy in Mogadishu in liaison with the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) in Kampala, handles an average of 1,000 visa applications per month for travel to Uganda.

Currently, there are four direct flights from Entebbe to Mogadishu by Uganda Airlines.

“It is clear that there is enormous trade potential with Somalia that Uganda can harness.  The time for Uganda to complement peace keeping with commercial relations in Somalia is now, and we should move pretty fast. Suffice to note that these market opportunities translate into investment opportunities, both here and in Somalia,” Mugisha noted.

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