The government of Uganda has unveiled an elaborate multi-billion shilling marketing strategy at the World’s biggest trade and tourism exhibition dubbed the Dubai Expo which kicked off yesterday October 1 and will run six months in the Emirate City state of Dubai.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional Affairs), John Mulimba told a news conference that Uganda will dispatch a delegation to Dubai to market Uganda’s unique products with the focus being placed on Coffee, Black tea, Cocoa, Fish and fish products (Nile perch and tilapia), Fruits, ginger and cardamom, Avocado and Apple Bananas.
Uganda’s trade delegation will also focus on selling Uganda as a prime tourism destination.
With the blessing of President Museveni, Uganda recently entered into agreement with the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) the organisers of the Expo, to dedicate a special day (Sunday October 3) as a Uganda day at the Expo and will be used to highlight Uganda’s unique beauty, products and investment opportunities throughout the Expo.
As part of the deal, the Burj Khalifa, one of the tallest and most iconic buildings in the world, will be decorated with Uganda’s national colours.
Uganda’s delegation has already received UGX 3 billion, at the direction of President Museveni to erect colourful Pavilion to accomodate all our products and attractions at the Expo.
The expo was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions. Some 190 countries and international organizations are expected to participate in the Dubai Expo 2020.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah said Parliament had arrangements to support some MPs to attend the expo in person.
Uganda government has justified the big expenditure on the Expo grounds that Uganda has a huge negative balance of trade with most Arab countries, yet the same countries import billions worth of goods that Uganda can produce competitively.
Minister Mulimba for example said that UAE alone consumes roasted and packed coffee worth US$ 1.1billion but Uganda’s market share is only US$ 11million. A similar situation applies with tea whose market size is US$ 1.2billion but Uganda’s market share is only US$ 220,000; milk powder with a market size of 2.85 billion but Uganda’s market share is only US$ 374,000.
The theme of the Dubai Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with three (3) sub-themes of “Mobility”, “Opportunity” and “Sustainability.” Uganda is participating under the “Opportunity” subtheme.
“The Middle East Market is huge, and Uganda stands to gain significantly by effectively promoting the above products during and after the Expo, using Dubai as the distribution hub into the greater Middle East,” he said.
Mulimba said the country has profiled all the above products, together with their major exporters, capacity and contact details for dissemination during the Expo.
Apart from trade the minister said the country will promote Uganda’s tourism (“Destination Uganda”) which has won international recognition as a premium tourist destination.
These products include, Gorilla tracking, bird watching, Mountain hiking especially the Rwenzori Mountains, Home-stay and meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE)
He further explained that the country will also enhance bilateral relations especially with the organizers, the Government of UAE.
Tomorrow October 3, which is Uganda Day at the Expo, there will be an official government-to-government ceremony in the morning and additional country promotion programmes in the afternoon.
President Museveni is expected to hold talks with the rulers of UAE, where the official ceremony will be restricted to fifty (50) delegates from Uganda and the UAE respectively in compliance with the COVID-19 SOPs.
The additional country promotion programme will include business meetings, road-show (flag procession), cultural performances and food tasting (culinary) experiences.
Mulumba Said Uganda expects Linkages between Ugandan exporters and foreign buyers, these include, Direct importers/distributors in UAE (“by-passing middlemen”), Supply contracts with major UAE retailers already mentioned, coffee importers from emerging markets, Investors and processors of dairy products (use dairy products as inputs) Direct tea importers
“With hope for the establishment of commercial presence in Dubai Marketing office at the Dubai Multi Commodity Center Ugandan products on shelves in Carrefour, Lulu and Union Coop Marketing and distribution agents across the Middle East Potential investors undertake exploratory/scoping visits to Uganda to evaluate identified investment opportunities,” Mulimba noted.
He said the country also expects an Increase in tourist bookings for destinations in Uganda.