Uganda is set to host the first joint bilateral business talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) aimed at providing a platform to the business communities from the two countries to share experiences.
The joint business summit is also aimed at identifying opportunities for trade and investment. It also wants to come up with solutions that are affecting the smooth trade between Uganda and DR Congo.
According to Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs there are many business opportunities for the Ugandan business community in Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said this has not been exploited due to some bottlenecks such as poor infrastructure and other Non-Tariff barriers.
“During this meeting we shall discuss many issues that are affecting trade between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We hope that when the barriers are addressed, it will open Congo market to our Ugandan business community since DRC is a net importer of Ugandan goods and services,” said Kutesa about the November 9th Summit.
Kutesa said the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the key export markets for Uganda. In 2018 Uganda’s export to DRC stood at US$533Million with formal trade standing at US$221m while informal trade standing at US$312 Million.
The Business Forum will be conducted under the theme “Promoting Bilateral Trade, Investment and Connectivity for Mutual Peace and Prosperity “.
It will be attended by the Heads of State from the two countries alongside the business community, policymakers and other dignitaries from both countries.
Kutesa observed that promoting trade between Uganda and DRC is key in promoting peace and stability among the two countries since they all belong to a regional economic block market (Common Market for Eastern and Sothern Africa).
Why Uganda and DRC should promote bilateral trade
Kutesa said both countries are implementing regional cooperation in Defense and Security, Education, Health, Youth Affairs and Sports.
He said the key sectors to be focused on during the meeting include Manufacturing, Tourism Agriculture and Agro-processing, Oil and Gas, Mining among other key sectors in trade.
The State Minister for Trade Michael Werikhe Kafabusa said Uganda will soon embark on constructing One-Stop Border Points on most of most crossing border points with DR Congo to ease trade among the two countries.
“We have done it with Rwanda and now we shall be embarking on Uganda-DRC borders.
“Our traders are experiencing challenges in obtaining travel and other trade-related documents to DRC.
“With the One-Stop Border Points, such challenges will be solved,” said Werikhe.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO