The Government of Uganda has appointed a Permanent Representative to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Ambassador Dorothy Samali Hyuha presented her Letter of Credence to Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya at the COMESA Headquarters in Lusaka on 23rd January 2017.
Ambassador Hyuha reaffirmed her countryâ€™s commitment to regional integration as spearheaded by COMESA. She said Uganda firmly believes in the ideals of regional integration and will remain an active member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
â€œThe government of Uganda supports the work of COMESA and recognizes the important role of this organization. We hope for intensified cooperation with COMESA in fulfilling the aims and objectives of the COMESA Treaty,â€ Ambassador Hyuha added.
The ambassador revealed that with respect to trade, Ugandaâ€™s domestic export to the COMESA region has continued to grow steadily topped by Coffee, Maize, Portland cement and dried beans. The country exported goods worth US$743 million in 2015 to the regional bloc.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya welcomed the new ambassador and commended Ugandaâ€™s active participation in the various COMESA programmes. He gave a brief history on how the Ugandan leader, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni has been involved in spearheading regional integration by not only implementing the various decisions but also hosting several Summits including in 1993 when the COMESA Treaty was signed and in 2008 when the COMESA, EAC, SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area wasÂ crafted.
â€œUganda is at the forefront of implementing priority areas of regional integration, which include development of infrastructure, industrialization, agriculture and agro-industrial development,â€
â€œAs we welcome you Ambassador, we believe you will contribute as the region transitions from extractive to learning economies which will prioritise allocating resources to innovation,â€ Mr Ngwenya added.
Uganda is a founding member of COMESA and joined the Free Trade Area in July 2014. So far, the country has been implementing various COMESA programmes. These include, among many others, actively using the Transit Transport Facilitation instruments developed by COMESA and the COMESA Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) tool which assists in the identification and quantification of SPS related Non-Tariff Barriers.
Regarding the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Clusters, the COMESA Business Council through the Local Sourcing Project trained 50 SMEs from the agriculture and agro-processing sector in Uganda. The main objective of the project is to increase local sourcing from small growth enterprises by large corporate companies in order to create jobs and integrate economic activities within the economy.