A senior Turkish official has sought to increase trade volume with the landlocked East African country of Uganda.
In an exclusive interview with the Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Uganda-Turkiye Investment Summit in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Turkish Deputy Trade Minister Riza Tuna Turagay said there is ample opportunity to increase trade with Uganda.
“Turkiye’s total exports currently exceed $225 billion and our target for this year is to reach $250 billion and the foreign trade volume stands at $496 billion,” he said.
The summit, co-organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK), was also attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Riza said that although trade volume between Uganda and Turkiye has increased to $71 million, this is still low.
“Through partnerships and investment, we hope to raise this. Our economic plan is focused on investment, production, and export surplus. Ninety Turkish companies attended this investment summit, this is a good beginning to boost investment,” he said.
The Turkish minister said that his country is interested in investing in Uganda and giving market to its products.
“Today, we launched the Uganda-Turkiye Industrial Park and Trade Centre in Nakasongola, Central Uganda, this is good at attracting new investment opportunities and widens the potential for Turkish companies and businesses to invest in Uganda’s economy. The time to invest in Uganda and enhance partnerships is now, Turkiye will continue to offer a ready market for Ugandan products,” he said.
Sops for businesses
According to the Ugandan government, it gives free land in industrial parks, fully serviced with electricity, water, tarmac roads, high-speed internet, and industrial waste treatment plants. Besides the investors also get a 10-year tax holiday and can sell up to 80% of their production outside the domestic market. Hotel equipment, fixtures, and furniture are exempt from taxes at importation among other incentives.
Uganda exports to Turkiye a wide range of flagship products such as coffee, tea, vanilla, cocoa beans, processed fruits, fish, and handicrafts among others. Uganda’s exports to Turkiye have increased by 418% in 2021.
The Turkish minister said that Uganda guarantees the safety of investments and several Turkish companies have taken advantage of the conducive business climate and registered their companies.
“This country is so beautiful! I feel like I am in paradise. The scenery is fascinating and secure. This is why I am recommending Turkish tourists to visit it. There is a lot of potential in Uganda, the rising star of Africa. This investment summit should be a turning point, the Uganda government should speed up to untie bureaucratic procedures and facilitate businesses,” said Turagay.
According to the latest datasets from the World Bank, Uganda has one of the lowest crime rates and most stable inflation rate in East Africa – averaging 4.89%.
Growing domestic market
Uganda has a robust growing domestic market of nearly 45 million people. According to government releases, investors in Uganda have access to the new East African Community (EAC) market hosting 266 million people and a GDP of $243 billion. The EAC stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.
Uganda has also ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area, removing trade barriers, with Africa’s population of 1.3 billion.
African countries enjoy access to external markets under special agreements with over 6,000 products eligible for US markets under Africa Growth and Opportunities Act, and quota-free and tax-free access to all products into the European Union under EBA (everything else except arms).
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