Embassy of Uganda participates in 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair

Wed, 12/13/2023

The Embassy of Uganda participated in the Uganda Day of the 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair organized jointly by the EAC and in collaboration with partner states and private sector. 

The event is a brainchild of the Heads of State of the EAC Partner States, who, having realized the importance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in regional integration, inaugurated the EAC MSMEs Trade Fair formerly known as the Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi in 1999.

The Chief Guest at the event was Hon. James Magode,  Minister of State for East African Community Affairs in Uganda. Among the invited guests were Deputy Secretary General EAC and Executive Directors from Government MDAs, the Ambassador of Uganda to Burundi, Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza and Civil Society from all EAC Member states.

 In his keynote address, the State Minister for EAC Affairs acknowledged that the exhibition was launched in recognition of Article 7.1 (a) of the Treaty that outlines people-centred and market-driven co-operation as one of the principles that shall govern the practical achievement of the objectives of the EAC Community. He stated that the EAC Customs Union has been in force since 2005, the Common Market since 2010 and is projected to pave way for a Monetary Union with a single currency in 2024 and ultimately a Political Federation through the transitional model of a Political Confederation. 

He however lamented that the EAC continues to face low levels of intra-regional-trade which has remained below 20 percent compared to 46 percent in SADC and 65 percent for the European Union.

Despite MSMEs constituting approximately 90 per cent of traders, 60 per cent contribution to employment and 29 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), MSMEs have not fully benefited from the opportunities accruing from the wider and deeper integration. This,  Hon. Magode stated, can be resolved by steps to over come among others isolation from the regional and continental value chains, and unfavorable regulatory and legal regime such as multiple tax/fees, licenses and others.

He concluded by announcing that the Uganda government is committed to playing a role towards supporting MSMEs development especially in the areas of post-harvest handling, value addition, quality standards and market access.

Uganda is represented at the exhibition by 109 exhibitors. The Government of Uganda in collaboration with CMSEO Uganda Chapter, mobilized, verified, and facilitated 109 MSMEs from the following sectors: metal fabrications, agro-processing, leather and leather products, herbal, pharmaceuticals, innovation, artisans, art crafts to mention but a few. An exhibition that stole the show was the solar powered vehicle prototype, fully made in Uganda, and in which the Chief Guest and Ambassador took a ride.