Uganda and South Korea have started a 12-months Project which is aimed at increasing and diversifying Uganda’s exports in line with the National Development Plan II and the National Export Development Strategy.
The project, Market-linked Korea is funded by Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund (KOAFEC) at a tune of USD 500,000.
Through this project, Uganda is expected to grow its exports to South Korea especially for key products such as Coffee, Tea and Spices, olive trees and other plant bulbs, among others.
MarketLiked Korea: How will exporters benefit?
According to John Lwere of Uganda Export Promotions Board, market-focused studies will be undertaken on behalf of the local exporters to identify high potential sectors, market entry requirements and trends, and most importantly potential customers.
“This information will be shared with exporters interested in this market,” said Lwere.
He notes that through the export readiness program and business development support component, Uganda Export Promotions Board will assess interested exporters for readiness to export to South Korea.
“Export –ready companies will be linked to potential buyers. Others will be supported depending on the identified need and available resources,” added Lwere.
Under the project, UEPB will work closely with the exporters to ensure that prospective buyer has all information necessary to make a buying decision including addressing all buyer needs.
They will also organize a Sales Mission to South Korea where a tailored itinerary of appointments with interested buyers, the shipment of samples, assistance with inland travel and logistics to the meeting places will be done.
Uganda Export Promotions Board will as well provide aftercare services to exporters to ensure that they fulfil export orders and for continuous in-market support.
“Participation in MarketLinked Korea is not only to generate sales opportunities but to enter and position Uganda’s products in the market,” adds Lwere.
South Korea at a glance
South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the World and its per capita income has recently passed the $30,000 mark. It is also ranked 5th among the exporting economies in the World (OECD 2018); with a very strong export base and a skilled labour force.
Bilateral trade between Uganda and South Korea
Uganda and South Korea have had a cordial relationship and diplomatic relations since 2014. Uganda exported to Korea goods worth USD 1.34M in 2016, USD 0.21M in 2017and USD 1.03M in 2018. Imports from Korea were; USD 0.46M in 2016, USD 0.69M in 2017 and USD 0.86M in 2018.
Uganda’s Major exports to Korea are mainly agricultural products such as coffee, tea and spices; and live trees and other plant bulbs.
Specifically, coffee exports were; USD 1.34M, USD 0.21M and USD 0.56M in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, Tea and spices were; USD 0.004M and USD 0.17M in 2017 and 2018 respectively, while Live trees and other plant bulbs were; USD 0.004M and USD 0.001M in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Major Imports from Korea include; Bulldozers, graders, excavators, levellers, Machines and other mechanical appliances, Laboratory equipment, Automatic data processing machines, Office machines, pharmaceuticals.
Which Exporter can participate
The project, MarketLinked Korea, will assist all Ugandan producers and exporters of products deemed to have potential in South Korea. However, these products must be compliant with the minimum standards, health and safety requirements.
Also export trading companies that are recognized by or with strong and demonstrable linkages, that have a good business track record, already exporting or deemed export-ready through the export readiness assessment will be eligible to participate.
“Exporters with the capacity to address product and production issues promptly, as may be required by the market, interest groups such as PWD, producers groups that are well organized and duly registered to do business are encouraged to participate,” said Lwere.
While launching the project at Golf Course Hotel Kampala, Uganda’s State Minister for Trade Michael Werikhe said they will as well market and export other products where Uganda have potential to export like cereals, fish and fish products, edible fruits and nuts, meat and edible meat offal, among others.
“However, the major challenge Uganda is still facing is exporting mostly bulky, low value or with minimum value addition, while we import high-value products from Korea,” said Werikhe.
Werikhe said Uganda has proposed a number of Strategies to grow trade between Uganda and South Korea like attracting investments to boost production, holding trade fairs in South Korea, preferential treatment for our exports to Korea, capacity building / Development Assistance in Quality Assurance, private Sector to Private Sector engagement and contract farming.
He added that the Government of Uganda strongly wishes to encourage contract farming between South Korean Companies and Ugandan farmers involved in the production of agricultural products such as; Coffee, tea and spices, among others so as to boost quantity and quality of such products.
Werikhe said the Government of Uganda has invested in new power generation plants and by 2020, the Annual National Power Generation Capacity of Electricity will be about 2,600 Megawatts. This expanded power generation capacity will foster industrialization.
“Creation of a One-Stop Business Center that facilitates investments, improvement in the quality and standards infrastructure environment and Uganda’s fully liberalized economy which offers a number of investment incentives like; exemption of import duty taxes on agricultural inputs and machinery, zero-rating of exports will spur both exports and investments,” said Werikhe.
BY PAUL TENTENA