By Stephen Ssenkaaba
In March, more Ugandan business people will be able to directly liaise with their Turkish counterparts and explore investment opportunities. This is because the Turko Group, a Turkish business consortium, will open offices in Kampala, making access to information, connections for stronger business ties between the two countries more practical.
Speaking at a media briefing in Kampala, Ersin Eren, the chairman of the Turkish Ugandan Business Council said the new office will help to facilitate the business environment that will enable Turkish businessmen and their Ugandan counterparts closely work together and benefit from trade and business opportunities in both countries.
“We have been visiting Uganda for some time and we are getting to interest Turkish businessmen in Uganda through this office,” he said. The office will provide information about business opportunities in Turkey for Ugandan businessmen as well as consultancy services. It will also link Ugandan businessmen to their Turkish counterparts.
The office, 95% of whose staff will be Ugandan, will concretise plans for the establishment of a series of Turkish owned business and investment companies in the areas of manufacturing, oil exploration, tourism, agriculture, health and energy.
For the beginning $20m (sh49.4b) will be spent on the establishment of these ventures. The plans will include establishment of a Turkish restaurant, meat processing plant, agribusiness, health and medical facilities as well as construction.
The Turko Group will also work together with its Ugandan partners to market Ugandan products such as coffee, flowers and tourism to the international market.
How Ugandans benefit
For the Ugandan businessmen, this venture will ease access to the Turkish market.
It also means access to top quality Western products at affordable prices. “We would like to link Uganda businessmen to key Turkish business opportunities through the Turkish Government Foreign Economic Relations Board,” Giray said.
With the existence of a direct flight from Turkish airlines, businessmen are able to travel to Turkey conveniently.
The establishment of this office is a step ahead in a thriving trade partnership between Turkey and Uganda which dates back almost 14 years ago.
These relations were further strengthened at the end of 2010 following the visit of Turkish deputy prime minister Bülent and the subsequent signing of trade agreements between the two countries under the auspices of the Uganda Government and the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists — Turkey’s largest business advocacy group.
The Turkish-Ugandan Business Council was established following the signing of an agreement between DEiK, the Unions of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on September 13, 2012. Since then, relations have got better between the two countries.
“As a result of this, the trade volume between the two countries is set to increase twofold from $30m (sh74b),” Ersen said.