Everything set for Uganda-DRC Joint Business Forum

Former Foreign Minister Sam Kuteesa speaking at the previous forum

The 2nd edition of the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo Joint Business Forum to be held in Kinshasa from March 22 to 24 is expected to strengthen exchanges between the two neighboring countries.

The forum, led by the Ugandan Embassy in Kinshasa, the DRC government and supported by private actors including the DRC-Uganda Business Association, an umbrella association of traders, aims to boost bilateral trade between Kampala and Kinshasa as the two countries look to each other for investment opportunities. .

The business forum will be organized under the theme: Developing business and trade between DRC and Uganda through deepening bilateral trade, partnerships, knowledge transfer for mutual peace and prosperity.

Other areas of focus of the forum will include promoting trade between the two countries by sharing information on improving trade facilitation, enhancing trade in goods and services as well as investment opportunities.

The forum will provide a platform to share the rich trade potential that exists between the two neighboring countries and explore ways to benefit economically from the cordial bilateral relations that have been strengthened by continued engagements at the highest level.

Kenneth Muhangi, managing partner of KTA Advocates, which represents Ugandan traders at the forum, said Uganda and its people are keen to deepen bilateral relations with the DRC and its people.

“With a combined population of 134 million people, we are delighted to be part of such an important event which will attract tangible investment and knowledge transfer in areas such as intellectual property and ICT. Uganda is after all on its way to middle income country status and with the opportunities this 2nd edition of the forum presents, we look forward to the participation of market leaders in telecommunications, ICT, retail, digital commerce, manufacturing, hospitality, energy and infrastructure among the many areas of interest,” said Muhangi, whose firm is a key partner in the event.

Dr Edith Nsubuga Namutebi from the Ugandan Embassy in Kinshasa said now is the time to trade as the environment is ripe.

“The political will for cooperation is there, connectivity issues are steadily improving with negotiations to expand flights and cargo flights to other parts of the DRC and relations are strengthened as evidenced by routine visits high-level commissioners from both countries,” she said.

She added that by doing business together, countries undertake multi-billion dollar programs in various sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure and transport, ICT and others.

To further consolidate this positive momentum, the DRC’s application for membership of the East African Community (EAC) has been endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the EAC, thus opening new prospects for economic integration and increased trade interactions in the region.

It is in this pink context that Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, is preparing to host the second edition of the Uganda-DRC Business Forum to be held at the Congo River Hotel from March 22 to 25, 2022. The Forum will take place bringing together some 150 participants comprised of Ugandan businessmen and their DRC counterparts as well as government officials from both countries, as well as key business players from both countries.

“I love Uganda and make frequent trips to Kampala. I have been to Kabale, Arua and love the cool breeze in Entebbe. I enjoy fresh fish from Lake Victoria, says Monsignor Gentiny Ngobila, Governor of the City-Province of Kinshasa.

During a meeting with Dr Namutebi Edith Nsubuga, Chargé d’Affaires of the Ugandan Embassy in Kinshasa, His Excellency Gentiny Ngobila reiterated that “the Forum comes at the right time and the environment is conducive. It’s time to break down barriers and accelerate business ties between us; it is high time for our private sectors to harness and unleash the full potential of existing business opportunities. City-to-city cooperation is also welcome. I will personally honor the forum and look forward to seeing the Ugandan business community in Kinshasa, Welcome.

Together, there is potential for improving economic growth and people’s well-being through mutual development mechanisms, including joint infrastructure projects, joint patrols, one-stop border posts, etc.

Uganda and the DRC have flame support works that can enable trade to flourish between the two countries, including the commissioning of the joint infrastructure project that links the two countries, the bilateral agreement on air services which allows Uganda Airlines and Eagle Air to fly to Kinshasa.

Other mechanisms include the DRC’s accession to the EAC, the COMESA Free Trade Area which both countries have ratified, the Tripartite Free Trade Area between COMESA – EAC – SADC.

At the bilateral level, the two countries have set up a joint permanent commission and a joint ministerial commission, among other areas of bilateral cooperation.

Uganda has a comparative advantage in agriculture and one of the largest oil reserves in the region while the DRC has one of the largest deposits of natural resources on earth.

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