The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde has said that the ministry requires 5 billion Shillings to participate in the six months world expo scheduled to take place in 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates-UAE.
In her statement to parliament on Wednesday, Kyambadde noted that the money was required in the current financial year 2019/2020 and the coming financial year 2020/2021 to enable adequate preparation for the event.
She said that the funds were to cover stall setup, branding, beautification, maintenance, promotional and advertising materials both visual and print, publicity, and special events such as the Uganda National Day as well as the Trade and Investment Forums.
The World Expo is expected to attract attendance of 190 countries under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” The expo will have three sub-themes including Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. The Expo is scheduled to start on October 20th 2020 to April 10th 2021.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga noted that Uganda had confirmed attendance for the upcoming world expo but no funds had been provided in the2019/2020 financial year.
She reported that the UAE had generously constructed stalls for each country but Uganda had failed to brand its stall citing an urgent need for the activity to be undertaken to allow the country’s efficient participation.
Kyambadde told MPs that the Ministry had budgeted for the expo but their budget for the activity remained unfunded in the current financial year.
She said that Uganda’s objectives in the upcoming expo were promotion of strategic exports to the UAE, Middle East and other participating countries, attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from the 190 participating countries, positioning Uganda as an attractive tourism destination as well as expose and link the Uganda business community to the international business community.
ln 2018, the Middle East region accounted for 19 percent of Uganda’s formal merchandise exports amounting US Dollars 599 million, with 90 percent of this revenue coming from UAE alone. Uganda’s top 5 export products to the UAE were gold, fish, fruits and vegetables, oilseeds and coffee.
Kyambadde told MPs that Uganda was going to focus on promoting the export products of coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables at the world expo. She explained that these were selected based on market potential in UAE and Middle East and Uganda’s capacity to produce and supply the selected products.
The Minister appealed for Parliament’s support to enable her Ministry access the funds.
Some of the special events that Uganda will participate in during the 6-month expo period include the Uganda National Day which will have a trade and Investment Forum on 22nd October 2019, Business to Business (B2B) Matchmaking events which will be held at different periods during the expo, Tourism Roadshows, Culinary Experience days (food testing festivals) to showcase the country’s food, Dance and Cultural Festival among others.
Kyambadde spoke of increased exports of coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables to the Middle East as one of the benefits and opportunities that Uganda is to reap from the world expo.
However, Speaker Kadaga questioned the laxity on government’s side concerning the expo wondering why the government never budgeted for the funds. Kadaga was supported by Wamanyi Wamanga, the Mbale Municipality MP and Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssumujju Nganda.
David Bahati, the State Minister for Planning says that the Finance Ministry will mobilize the funds this financial year to enable the Trade Ministry brand the stall. He added that more money was to be budgeted for in the coming financial year 2020/2021. But Kadaga was still not convinced by government’s planning on the matter.