Delegates and private sector representatives at the Uganda-South Africa Trade and Investment Summit have urged both governments to eliminate visa restrictions that have hindered smooth trade between the two nations. Despite a longstanding historical alliance since the apartheid era, South African exports to Uganda significantly outweigh Uganda’s exports to South Africa, creating an unfavorable trade balance.
One of the primary topics of discussion at the summit was the removal of visa restrictions that have impeded trade relations. Participants stressed the need to facilitate easier movement for business purposes.
Uganda’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, and many of its exports are agricultural products with limited value addition. Stephen Asiimwe, the Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, emphasized the importance of finding markets and funding to enhance the value-added aspects of Ugandan exports.
The South African Agricultural Minister highlighted the significance of complying with established standards for agricultural products. Additionally, he mentioned the potential for further negotiations to expand trade relations.
Discussions also delved into the challenges faced by Ugandan exporters, including issues related to financing, market accessibility, and regulatory frameworks. Exporters called for the implementation of previously agreed-upon commitments by businesses and governments from both countries.
The summit provided a platform for business-to-business interactions, fostering the potential for formalized partnerships and agreements through letters of intent. Participants expressed optimism about the outcomes of these discussions and their contribution to strengthening trade ties between Uganda and South Africa.
The Uganda-South Africa Trade and Investment Summit represents a concerted effort to address trade barriers, enhance economic cooperation, and create mutually beneficial opportunities for both nations.