Trade and investment between Uganda and SA strengthened as presidents meet

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the Union Buildings during his state visit to South Africa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the Union Buildings during his state visit to South Africa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 28, 2023


Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa says that steady progress has been made in resolving some of the challenges relating to trade and investment between Uganda and South Africa and further said that the country supported the call for dialogue in dealing with instability within the African continent.

Ramaphosa hosted his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni for a state visit at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Republic of Uganda is South Africa’s 15th-largest trading partner on the continent and the second-largest in East Africa.

Discussions between the two heads of state included political, economic, regional, continental and international issues.

“Between 2017 and 2021, total trade between the two countries reached a peak of R3bn, which the two countries agree is well below potential. South Africa’s exports to the Republic of Uganda increased from R2.18bn in 2017 to R3.12bn in 2018.

“The value of South Africa’s imports from Uganda increased from R127m in 2017 to R323m in 2020,” Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya previously stated.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa said that as a further demonstration of the two country’s strong relations, the two heads of state signed several Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements, covering social, economic, legal and scientific cooperation.

“It is our wish that our excellent and enduring political relations must translate into development and prosperity for our peoples and countries.

“By increasing trade and investment, our economies will grow, become more productive and diverse, and create more job opportunities. We therefore welcome the South Africa-Uganda Business Forum that is currently under way,” Ramaphosa said.

The business forum brought together respective private sectors and state-owned companies to explore new opportunities for trade and investment in each other’s economies.

Ramaphosa said South Africa was “most certainly” interested in being part of this economic development in Uganda and he sincerely hoped that the Ugandan delegates were showcasing opportunities for investment and procurement in Uganda’s burgeoning oil and gas sector.

“It does not make economic nor political sense for African countries to trade with and procure from countries abroad when the services, finances, commodities and products are available right here on the continent. Current global developments clearly illustrate the urgent need to fully operationalise the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.

In his media briefing, Ramaphosa said that South Africa sees Uganda as an important partner in East Africa.

“As a continent we need to continue to work towards the peaceful resolution of conflict and emphasise dialogue over military confrontation,” he added.

He said South Africa remained deeply concerned about recent developments in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and strongly condemned the upsurge of conflict, being fuelled by armed groups.

“We call on all parties involved to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC. South Africa strongly believes in African solutions to African problems.

“We support the call for dialogue among Member States of the EAC and SADC that have deployed forces to the DRC. We further support the call for the establishment of mechanisms to effectively coordinate continental interventions in the DRC,” he said.

Ramaphosa also said that it was vital that like-minded countries such as South Africa and Uganda work together in the Peace and Security Council and on other multilateral platforms.

“This conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused volatility in the global economy and has had a negative impact on the developing world. We need to ensure that the resultant shift in global dynamics does not distract us from pursing our developmental agendas,” he added.

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