• Sep 29, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • 📸 In pictures: Uganda-Saudi Arabia coffee expo to widen foreign exchange earnings

Several dignitaries and among them, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo expressed hope and positivity of the expo. (Courtesy Photos)
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UGANDA | SAUDI ARABIA | COFFEE EXPO

KAMPALA - The Embassy of The Republic of Uganda, Riyadh has Wednesday hosted the Uganda-Saudi Arabia Virtual Coffee Expo, aimed at improving ongoing economic and diplomacy initiatives between the two countries.

H.E Amb Isaac Biruma Sebulime (R) handing over packages of coffee to the visitors who attended the Uganda coffee tasting and cupping during the virtual Uganda-Saudi Arabia Coffee expo on September 29,2021. (All Photos courtesy)

H.E Amb Isaac Biruma Sebulime (R) handing over packages of coffee to the visitors who attended the Uganda coffee tasting and cupping during the virtual Uganda-Saudi Arabia Coffee expo on September 29,2021. (All Photos courtesy)

The expo presented an opportunity for Uganda to make, engage coffee traders and other stakeholders in the coffee value chain.

Hon. Gen Jeje Odongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Uganda-Saudi Arabia Coffee Expo.

Hon. Gen Jeje Odongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Uganda-Saudi Arabia Coffee Expo.

Several dignitaries and among them, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo expressed hope and positivity of the expo, promising that the Government will address any issues that may arise from the same.

H.E. Ssebulime, the Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, delivering his remarks at the opening ceremony.

H.E. Ssebulime, the Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, delivering his remarks at the opening ceremony.

“Uganda exports of coffee and coffee husks to Saudi Arabia were a paltry $419,300 (sh1.5b) during the year 2020. This situation needs to improve as Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing coffee market in the Middle East.

(L-R) Amb. Kwoba Godfrey Ag. Head of IPC Department, Nelson Tugume CEO Inspire Coffee and Amb. Katureebe Tayebwa Head REC Department tasting coffee at the Ministry Headquarters.

(L-R) Amb. Kwoba Godfrey Ag. Head of IPC Department, Nelson Tugume CEO Inspire Coffee and Amb. Katureebe Tayebwa Head REC Department tasting coffee at the Ministry Headquarters.

The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.2% during 2021-2027. This is an opportunity for businessmen and women from both countries,” Odongo noted.

Odongo remarked as he delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the virtual Coffee Expo.

The theme of the expo was: ‘The Uganda Coffee industry perspective: farming, processing and export.’

The Minister said that Uganda allows the full repatriation of profits after taxes have been paid as well as 100% foreign ownership of the private investment.

He explained that the minimum capital required for a foreign investor to be eligible to invest in Uganda in any sector apart from those that may compromise the country’s security is $100,000 (sh354m).

Ondongo expressed appreciation to and expressed gratitude His Majesty the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz AL-Saud and His Royal Highness Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He applauded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the support towards Uganda’s development initiatives and hospitality to the Ugandan people who are working and living in Saudi Arabia.

He said the event was just a few days after the celebration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s National day. “It is our hope that the forum enhances synergies towards the achievement of the aspirations of our two countries to build more on the already existing historical relationship,” Odongo said.

The minister said coffee earnings are transformational for Uganda and hence the need to focus on coffee production and exports.

President Yoweri Museveni in 2014 gave a directive to accelerate coffee production from 3.5m 60kg bags per year to 20m bags per year of green coffee by the year 2025.

The Minister requested the participants in Uganda and Saudi Arabia to make the best use of the event. “Let me use this opportunity to invite our dear Saudi brothers and friends to visit Uganda, the Pearl of Africa and also invest in the Ugandan Coffee industry,” Odongo said.

Nelson Tugume, the CEO Inspire Coffee.

Nelson Tugume, the CEO Inspire Coffee.

Isaac Ssebulime, Uganda's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia said this was the first time businessmen from Saudi Arabia and Uganda have come together to chart ways of increasing trade between the two countries.

“What is significant is that we are targeting coffee, which is not only a commodity but an item of cultural significance in the two countries.  It occupies a special position in human relations in our communities. Robusta Coffee has its origin in Uganda,” Ssebulime said. He added that coffee was becoming a lifestyle beverage in Saudi Arabia.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE Database, Saudi Arabia imported from Uganda goods worth $ 6.85m (sh24b) in 2019. Uganda imported from Saudi Arabia goods worth $33.23m (sh118b)in the same year. 

Ssebulime said Uganda exports to Saudi Arabia primary products like coffee, minerals, tea, cut flowers and the like.  He noted that despite its abundance in Uganda coffee efforts were less than $1m (sh3.5b) worth of this total. 

“Our common membership of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation notwithstanding the level of trade between the two countries is still very low. This Expo is the first step in correcting this anomaly. Coffee holds a prime position in this effort,” Ssebulime said.

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