The Trade, Industry and Cooperatives minister, Amelia Anne Kyambadde, has held a high level meeting with a senior World Bank official to secure support for various government initiatives to usher Uganda into middle income status.
According to a statement from Uganda’s permanent mission in Switzerland, Kyambadde, and Annabel Gonzalez, a senior World Bank Group director for Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness met on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Sixth Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva.
The meeting was held at the request of the World Bank. Also at the meeting was Michael Wamai, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uganda in Geneva.
Kyambadde briefed the World Bank official on Uganda’s priority areas of commercial and economic interest and called for support from the World Bank.
She appealed for support on the establishment of a warehousing and logistics system. Kyambadde said: “There is a current need for 60 warehouses with a capacity of 5000-1000 Metric Tonnes; and two big silos to store produce so as to avoid instances of food insecurity.”
“Furthermore, Government is also promoting value addition to all our products through supporting, and attracting foreign direct investment in the agro processing industries.
“It is for this reason that Government had taken the strategic decision to impose a duty on the import of second hand clothes in order to grow the textile industry with the view to improving house hold incomes, eradicate poverty and generate employment for many of our youth,” she added.
Kyambadde noted that Government was focusing on key strategic areas that would ensure that Uganda graduates into middle-income status by 2020 such as tourism, agriculture, with a particular focus on Coffee, Cotton, Tea; and Oil and Gas for purposes of infrastructural development.
With regard to trade facilitation, connectivity and competitiveness: She highlighted the trade facilitative measures that Government had put in place such as the Electronic Single Window, Electronic Cargo Tracking System for Goods, and the Non-Tariff Barrier Monitoring System.
Kyambadde underscored the importance of regional partnerships in advancing the objectives of trade and development such as under the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the soon to be formed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which is still at negotiation phase.
She underlined the extensive strides made by the Presidents of the EAC on the key infrastructural projects that are being undertaken to promote not only deeper integration, but also the competitiveness of the region in lowering trade costs. These include the standard gauge railway line; marine transport; one area network; and oil pipeline among others.
According to a statement by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uganda in Geneva, Gonzalez welcomed the important, and strategic moves that have been taken by Uganda and agreed to continue working with the Government on these and other areas.
Gonzalez noted that the World Bank’s program on diversification is specifically meant to deal with areas in Agriculture and tourism that Kyambadde had identified.
She expressed the World Bank’s willingness to work with the Government on the issue of warehousing and logistics. The trade minister welcomed the support. The two agreed to continue working together on these and other issues of interest.