President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has officially opened the Uganda Trade Hub known as Uganda Connect in Serbia’s capital of Belgrade.
The hub is aimed at strengthening the bilateral relations between Uganda and Serbia and paving the way for the country’s goods and services in the Balkans region.
Launching the facility today, President Museveni who is on a two-day official visit to Serbia thanked his host, H.E Aleksandar Vucic, and his government for giving Uganda a chance to promote her exports in the European country.
“There’s some amount of drinking coffee in Serbia and in this part of the world; Russia and other places so we want to promote our coffee to come here processed. They have agreed to buy our processed coffee,” H.E. the President articulated.
“I want to inform you that as Uganda we have started to open doors for our exports. Unlike some Western powers who want to buy our raw materials, Serbia has allowed, and they are ready to buy our processed goods such as coffee, clothes, food, and leather among others,” he added.
President Museveni also explained that the hub was very vital in promoting Uganda’s exports because it will be used to put together a contact point “from where you can get what all you need and all the linkages. The hub makes the address simpler for anybody looking for anything to buy from Uganda”.
He expressed gratitude to the people of Uganda, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) team led by Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, and other stakeholders for playing an important role that has enabled Uganda to achieve this milestone in promoting its agricultural products in the world.
“Thank you so much. This milestone can also help us spread our wings to other parts of the world,” President Museveni said.
“We should utilize this chance because we shall be able to get 40 USD from a kilogram of processed coffee. A kilogram of unprocessed coffee is sold at only 2.5 USD, do you see how we have been making losses? This is the fight I’m in now.”
He also commended Uganda’s trade representative in Serbia, Mr. Bratislav Stoiljkovic for working hard to open a new trade and investment bridge between the two countries.
“Sometimes he uses his own money to push the initiative,” he said.
On the issue of tax on processed Coffee, President Museveni said, “I raised it with His Excellency the President, and he is going to look into it. He will also come to Uganda for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in January next year and by that time we would have moved quite a bit.”
Serbia is a landlocked country in Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Basin and the Balkans. The economy of the country is a service-based upper-middle income economy in the Balkans, with the tertiary sector accounting for two-thirds of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The economy functions on the principles of the free market.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the Serbian nominal GDP in 2022 is officially estimated at $65.697 billion or $9,561 per capita while purchasing power parity GDP stood at $153.076 billion or $22,278 per capita. The economy is dominated by services which account for 67.9% of GDP, followed by industry with 26.1% of GDP, and agriculture at 6% of GDP.