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President Officiates EU-Uganda Business Forum.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has advised the European Union (EU) leaders that it is a mistake to think that they can control the world politically.

He emphasised the need for European governments to stop mixing politics with business.

“The non-trade barrier created by wrong politics, where people mix politics with business, need tp be halted because there is no way you can control the world politically,” President Museveni advised.

He made the remarks at the 3rd Uganda-European Union Business Forum 2024, at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The three-day forum, which is running under the theme: “Boosting Trade and Investment,”.

President Museveni urged the European Union to ensure that they engage in a serious dialogue with Africa to create more business opportunities among both parties and warned against exploitation and unfair division of labour by the western powers.

“One of the disablers of business has been the unfair division of labour in the world where Africa and some of the other places like Latin America produce raw materials, and then the raw materials are taken to Europe and processed there into finished products. This is very dangerous. When you hear the chaos in some African countries now, the original problem is this one here. Those areas have a lot of natural resources, but they have been exporting raw materials,” he said.

“When you are exporting a raw material, like coffee, I will take an example. If you check your internet, you will see that the global value of coffee now is about 460 billion dollars. However, all the coffee producing countries in the world, like Brazil, Uganda, share 25 billion of the 460 billion dollars.  From the 25 billion dollars, Africa shares 2.5 billion dollars, and Uganda takes 900 million dollars. And why this? It is because, for very good quality coffee, a kilogram is 2.5 dollars, and when somebody adds value to it, he gets 40 dollars in Europe. So, I’m losing value of money but also losing jobs because the coffee value chain, like roasting, grinding, and packaging, are all job levels that are taken out.”

President Museveni also called upon the countries of the European Union to promote global affluence in order to enable the success of businesses around the world.

“When the Chinese started building and getting out of poverty, a tonne of steel jumped from USD200 to USD900. It has now come down to about USD700. We are building steel industries now because the movement of the Chinese from straw-thatched shelters to permanent buildings has meant that the price of steel, cement, copper, and all products went up because of the movement from poverty to affluence in China,” he explained.

“You, as business people, can pursue business, but the political actors in Europe and all of us need to know that global affluence will give good business to everybody in the world,” he added.

President Museveni further welcomed European companies investing in Uganda, saying it is very necessary for both Ugandan and European companies.

“Europeans investing here is common sense and strategic,” the president emphasised.

H.E. Jan Sadek, the Ambassador of the European Union to Uganda, said that the East African country and European Union companies have a lot to offer in this trade forum because both have several trade opportunities.

At the forum, a number of agreements were signed to boost investment opportunities between Ugandan and European companies.

The initiatives include, among others; Green and Decent Jobs for Youth, We Work at Euro 50m, and the project aims to enhance the employability of vulnerable youth, including young women, as well as their access to green and decent employment.

Advancing Respect for Business and Human Rights (ARBHR) in Uganda at Euro 5 million. The aim is to contribute to the reduction of human rights abuses, particularly those impacting women, in business activities in Uganda. The project supports the development.

The support for the Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation facility is 11.5m. This initiative aims to boost value addition and agroprocessing by unlocking affordable medium- and long-term financing for agribusiness SMEs in Uganda.

The Women Entrepreneurs for Africa Programme within the Team Europe initiative invests in young businesses in Africa.

European Investment Bank (EIB) loan to Centenary Rural Development Bank (“CERUDEB”) Uganda. The project relates to online lending of €50 million to microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, with a focus on female borrowers (50%) and clients in rural areas (60%).

EIB Loan to Housing Finance Bank at €25 million. This loan aims at providing financing to Housing Finance Bank-HFB for onward lending to a number of private sector entities, mostly small and medium enterprises, with a particular focus on eligible businesses run by and/or managed by women.

EIB loan to Towerco of Africa-Uganda at €25 million. The global gateway project supports the construction of 675 new mobile towers in Uganda. aBI-Green and inclusive growth in Uganda’s agri-food systems at Euro 12 million.

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