Deals worth an estimated $2 billion have also been signed between the two countries in the agro processing, energy, and mineral sectors.
Trade between the UAE and Uganda has been boosted over the recent years due to strong bilateral relations, the Ugandan envoy to the UAE has said.
Speaking at the Uganda-UAE Business Forum in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Zaake W. Kibedi, the Ambassador of Uganda to the UAE, said Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the UAE increased from $300 million in 2018 to approximately $3 billion in 2022.
“Uganda’s exports to the UAE have increased from $600 million in 2018 to $2 billion in 2022,” said Kibedi.
“Today, the UAE is the leading market destination for exports in the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).”
According to the ambassador, trade export between Uganda and the UAE has reached over $1.59 billion in 2022.
Remittances for Ugandans living and working in the UAE were about $50 million in 2018 but have now increased to $200 million.
The Uganda-UAE business forum comes on the heels of increased trade between the two countries particularly after the Uganda participated in the Dubai Expo 2020, which concluded on March 31, 2022.
Deals worth an estimated $2 billion were signed between Uganda and the UAE during a six-month period in the sectors of agro processing, energy, minerals and others.
“Due to the conducive business environment in both countries, there is potential for further growth in tourism, oil and gas, infrastructure and telecommunications, financial, automotive, pharmaceuticals, retail, electro-technical, energy, and construction sectors,” she said.
“Uganda is a beautiful country with a rich history and hospitable people. The country is built on religious and cultural tourism, and I call upon on UAE 'speople to visit our country for tourism and investments.”
Sameh Abdulla Jamaa Al Qubaisi, director of Economic Affairs, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADED), said the UAE and Uganda have signed several key agreements in areas of trade and investment, labour exchange and others.
He highlighted the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi, stressing that the cost of setting up a business in the UAE capital has reduced to Dh1,000 ($3,670).
Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community, who was the chief guest at the event, said she was happy with the strong and friendly relationship between Uganda and the UAE.
“There are many untapped areas Ugandan businesses can exploit in the UAE big market,” said Al Qubaisi.
He noted that the UAE is one of the top destinations for Uganda’s exports, including gold and fresh organic foods.
The largest segment of Uganda's economy is the agriculture sector, and Ugandan authorities have urged people in the UAE to invest in it as the country seeks to shift towards agro-processing
In a panel discussion on “Doing Business in Uganda”, Dr. Abdoumonem Al Marzooqi, Executive Director and Board Member Elite Group UAE who invested in Uganda’s agricultural sector, said Ugandan agricultural products – including fruits and vegetables – coffee, and other products are good, but farmers are challenged with finding markets for their products.
“The markets for Ugandan agricultural products can be readily available in the UAE and other GCC nations, but the challenge is that there is no proper link between the farmers and the international markets,” he said.
The forum, the first one to be organised in Abu Dhabi, presents Ugandan businesses with the opportunity to introduce themselves to the UAE market.
Presentations were made on trade, investment opportunities in Uganda, and priority sectors including agriculture, oil and gas, real estate, insurance, renewable energies, and others.