By Kampala Post Reporter
Minister for foreign affairs, Sam Kahamba Kutesa has hailed growing economic ties between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) saying this stands to eliminate existing trade barriers.
He made the remarks at the launch of the joint business forum between the two countries that is slated to take place starting on 9th November this year. Speaking on Tuesday, Kutesa said the oncoming event which coincides with DRC president Felix Antoine Tshikedi Tshilombo is testimony that fraternal relations between the two neighboring countries are excellent.
To illustrate his point, Kutesa pointed at the pickup in high delegation visits and the recent Joint cooperation frameworks in areas of; Health; Peace and Security; Energy and Mineral Development among others.
“We have a Joint Permanent Commission which is a vibrant framework of Cooperation where both of our countries have held a number of meetings and agreed on a number of areas”, he says.
During President Tshikedi’s three day visit to Uganda, Kutesa says emphasis shall be placed on strengthening trade and investment in a tranquil environment owing to the latter’s economic potential.
“It has a huge market of more than 80m people and presents enormous opportunities for our people. It is a State Party to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. It is also a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will be the world’s largest Free Trade Area since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO)”, he argues.
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), volume of trade between the two countries’ informal and formal sectors was estimated at over 500 million dollars. As such, Kutesa says there exists enormous room for growth if deliberate measures to facilitate trade are put in place. It is on this basis that he says President Yoweri Museveni directed the convening of this function expected to dissect private sectors.
The Joint Business Forum will be held under the theme “Promoting Bilateral Trade, Investment and Connectivity for Mutual Peace and Prosperity” with over 200-300 guests expected to grace the event. Among these include; private sector players from the DRC, Uganda, private sectors from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; International Organizations to mention but a few.
It is expected that at the end of the day, both countries shall reach consensus on customs, power generation and cross border generation and cross border infrastructure and connectivity.