President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni held a meeting on Monday, August 7, 2023, with the Royal Court Advisor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr Ahmed Bin Abdul-Aziz Kattan, at State House Entebbe.
During their interaction, the two leaders discussed potential trade and investment prospects that could be pursued by their respective nations.
In the dialogue, President Museveni expressed his desire for Saudi Arabia to engage in enhancing the value of Uganda’s coffee industry. He emphasized the importance of investing in coffee processing, citing the substantial economic losses incurred from exporting raw coffee. He pointed out that the current returns of USD 2.5 per kilogram were notably lower compared to the potential value of USD 40.
Drawing parallels to the oil industry’s history, President Museveni elaborated, “It is like oil the way it was in the past where a barrel of oil in 1969 was 40 cents, it was not even 1 USD. When there was the Arab-Israeli war in 1973, that is when there was a boycott and a barrel went to 40 USD.”
In addition, he emphasized the transformative power of processing raw materials, noting, “This is the same problem with these other raw materials like coffee.”
Highlighting the vast untapped potential, President Museveni stressed that identifying a company capable of processing coffee within Uganda would be a positive step. He assured Mr Kattan of a promising global market for the finished agricultural product.
Referring to the current scenario, he pointed out, “The global coffee business is USD 460 billion but the coffee producing countries; all of us, we share only USD 25 billion out of the USD 460 billion and Africa shares USD 2.4 billion. Germany, a non-coffee-producing country, earns more from coffee than the whole of Africa. It earns USD 6.4 billion.”
President Museveni further highlighted the existing trade agreements, saying, “So, if you can get me a company which can roast coffee here, grind and pack, it will be good. I was in Serbia; they are ready to buy our processed coffee but even the Americans if we process it will buy it because we have got an agreement with them – AGOA.”
Mr Kattan assured the President of Saudi Arabia’s willingness to collaborate with Uganda in terms of investment. He extended an invitation to President Museveni to participate in two upcoming summits to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. These summits, namely the Saudi Arabia Summit and the Arab-Africa Summit, were of significant importance on the global stage.
President Museveni welcomed the invitation with enthusiasm, confirming his attendance at the forthcoming events.
The meeting witnessed the presence of Foreign Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, alongside other members of the Saudi Arabian delegation.