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Uganda warms up to a chance to tap into Turkish business success

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th January 2014 09:02 PM

AS a once notable producer of coffee in the world, Uganda has not experienced much success in marketing this important cash crop.

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AS a once notable producer of coffee in the world, Uganda has not experienced much success in marketing this important cash crop.

By Stephen Ssenkaaba

AS a once notable producer of coffee in the world, Uganda has not experienced much success in marketing this important cash crop.


Now a newly established Turkish business consortium is promising to work together with the Uganda business community, the government and farmers to help promote the once world famous Ugandan coffee on the international market.

The Turko Group is a Turkish owned business consultancy group scheduled to start its operations here in March this year with the aim of promoting business and investment opportunities between Uganda and Turkey.

The Group is under the auspices of the Turkish-Ugandan Business Council formed in 2012 to promote trade and business between the two countries. Speaking at a media briefing recently, Ersin Eren, the chairman of the Turkish Ugandan Business Council said that promoting Ugandan products like coffee to the international market will be one of a number of activities that this new consulting group will undertake.

“While Uganda produces very good coffee, it is not widely known to the international market, Ersin said. “Part of our activities will be aimed at exploring ways of making such products widely known to potential markets abroad,” he added. With expertise and assistance from the Turko Group, Uganda will be able to identify important value addition techniques while also easily access competitive international markets through the Group’s wide connections.

Despite being one of the leading producers of coffee in the world, Uganda continues to rely on exported unprocessed beans. This, and other quality issues, has greatly compromised the country’s competitiveness on the world market.

According to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Uganda is Africa’s second-biggest coffee producer after Ethiopia and eighth largest coffee producer in the world. It also is the world’s fourth largest Robusta coffee producer. The majority of its Robusta exports are to Europe, the US, India and Russia. Until October last year, the country did not have a coffee policy.

More than Just coffee


In addition to coffee, the Turko Group will work together with the Ugandan business community through the Turkish-Ugandan business Council to promote other business sectors in this country. “We are targeting key sectors namely: oil, tourism, agriculture, health and energy, Atakan Giray, the acting chairman of Turko Group said. Through the Turkish- Ugandan business Association, Turkish entrepreneurs will share knowledge with their Ugandan counterparts and, where Turkey has expertise and relevant facilities, will provide small scale machinery, knowledge and contacts to Ugandan businessmen to boost industry. As part of this partnership the Group is planning to set up a modern restaurant in Kampala and slaughter houses for meat processing in different parts of the country.

Ersin and Giray came along with a group of Turkish businessmen who are currently exploring the feasibility of doing business in Uganda. One of them Nazim Yavuz who heads a leading construction group in Turkey said a conducive investment environment would be important for him and several other Turkish entrepreneurs to invest in Uganda. We are very keen to come here and see, but we need support and assurance from the government,” he said.

On Uganda’s part, The Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who are working closely with the Turkish-Ugandan business council has expressed optimism at the interest of Turkish business in Uganda. Already, trade links between the two countries are flourishing, enabled by cordial bilateral relations between Turkey and Uganda and affordable convenient travel options such as direct flights and a cargo line between Entebbe and Istanbul through Turkish Airlines, which has been operating here since 2010. With other benefits such as “Invest On Board” where businessmen and investors travelling by air follow and assess innovative start up ideas while in flight, the Airline is enhancing the business environment for entrepreneurs.

“Coming from one of the leading economies in the world today, we are keen to benefit from the skills, technology and ideas of the Turkish business,” Mike Nsereko the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry head of policy and advocacy said. Since the formation of Turkish- Ugandan Business Council in 2012, UCCI and the Turkish Business Council have been working together on promoting trade between the two countries through exchange programmes that involve sending fact-finding missions and trade delegations to both countries.

Turkey has become an influential country in world economy. According to credit rating agency- Moody’s, the country was tipped to rank as the fifth fastest-growing economy among the world’s 20 top economies in 2013. In a report entitled “Global Macro Outlook 2013, it is estimated that Turkey will grow 3.5 to 4.5% this year. Developing countries like Uganda are hoping to tap into this success.

Uganda warms up to a chance to tap into Turkish business success

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