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Russia-Africa Summit to widen opportunities for Uganda - Russian ambassador

According to Semivolos, the summit scheduled for July 27-28, 2023 in Russia’s second-largest city, St Petersburg, will boost bilateral trade and economic co-operation in addition to advancing a broader spectrum of Russia-Uganda multifaceted bilateral ties.
posted onJuly 24, 2023

According to the Russian ambassador to Uganda, HE Semivolos, the summit scheduled for July 27-28, 2023 in Russia’s second-largest city, St Petersburg, will boost bilateral trade and economic co-operation in addition to advancing a broader spectrum of Russia-Uganda multifaceted bilateral ties.

“The discussions will bring about greater opportunities for Russia and Uganda to utilise the potential for deeper co-operation. In my view, it should be bilateral trade, energy co-operation and advancement of Ugandan export products into the Russian market, especially coffee, tea and tropical fruits, among others,” he said.

He told government owned newspaper, New Vision in an interview at the Russian Embassy in Kololo, Kampala on Thursday: “We have already established strong trade connections between our two countries with regard to coffee and are importing coffee in big volumes now. We are looking forward to expanding this co-operation, which should include other commodities coming from Uganda such as tea and tropical fruits.”

 A number of Ugandan companies, he said, are now opening coffee shops in Moscow and in St Petersburg.

In May this year, Semivolos said Uganda held a very meaningful event in Moscow, the Uganda Expo, where over 60 Ugandan business personalities participated.

“We are aware of a number of trade deals that were concluded between our entrepreneurs. On our part, we are going to provide every possible assistance to ensure the expansion of trade in various areas between our two countries. We invite our Ugandan partners to advise us on what other export possibilities are available,” Semivolos said.

 Museveni, Putin meeting

The ambassador confirmed that President Vladimir Putin and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, would hold bilateral talks on the margins of the summit.

“There will be a separate bilateral meeting between President Putin and President Museveni to exchange views on the most acute issues, priority areas of co-operation. 

The discussions would focus on ways to accelerate our interaction, to set new horizons for our partnership. The meeting of the heads of our states will become a significant milestone and will give a strong impetus to further deepening bilateral ties on all levels. We are certain of it,” he said.

Museveni is expected to lead a delegation of over 100 Ugandans including cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, government technocrats, outstanding businesspeople, journalists, academics and other prominent personalities to the summit.

“We have extended invitations to a large number of officials and have received many confirmations. I will be there personally to receive the President and his delegation and accompany the President throughout the summit,” Semivolos said.

He added that there would be a number of business executives coming from Uganda separately to grace the summit. 

The meetings between business representatives from both countries are being arranged, Semivolos mentioned. “We are issuing visas to Ugandan representatives every single day,” he said.

He added that there would also be meetings between high-level officials from the ministries of Russia and Uganda to discuss specific areas of cooperation.

The summit, he revealed, will start with the economic and humanitarian forum that will include special panels on diverse issues of interaction between Russia and the African continent. 

“There will be separate panels on sustainable development, cooperation in energy sphere, agribusiness, food security, logistics, science and technology, mining, SMEs, humanitarian issues and many more. We will also arrange a media forum, a meeting of university rectors and a number of round tables.

We are expecting a high level participation from Uganda to attend these events,” he said.

According to Semivolos, the Russian Embassy in Kampala is working closely with the foreign ministry and the Ugandan Embassy in Moscow to ensure the success of the summit and the bilateral meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Yoweri Museveni. 

During the summit, he added, a number of documents on the development of the relations between African states and Russia will be adopted.

 Russia-Uganda inter-Parliamentary co-operation

According to the diplomat, several pre-summit events have already taken place where Uganda has effectively participated.

“In March we had an International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa” to which Uganda sent one of the largest delegations. 

The participation of Uganda in this event greatly contributed to the development of multifaceted ties between Russia and the countries of the African continent based on the principles of equal and mutually beneficial partnership,” he said.

As the ambassador pointed out, one of the major highlights of the Russia-Uganda agenda this year will be the first-ever visit of the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda Anita Among to Russia. 

The substantive programme of the visit is to ensure that it will promote productive inter-Parliamentary dialogue, deepen co-operation between the delegations of the two parliaments at the parliamentary platforms and serve the purpose of strengthening mutual understanding and collaboration between our nations and peoples.

Bilateral ties expand

The ambassador underlined that Russia highly values cordial relations and attaches great significance to the development of friendly ties with Uganda – an important and reliable partner. 

“We are confident that through joint efforts we will continue to further enhance bilateral co-operation in trade and economic, energy, scientific and technical, humanitarian and other fields. This, undoubtedly, meets the fundamental interests of the peoples of our countries” he said.

The ambassador stated that during the last few years, the dynamics of bilateral relations have been impressive. 

The official visit to Moscow last May of foreign affairs minister Jeje Odongo contributed greatly to the development of bilateral political dialogue, promotion of co-operation of the two states in the international fora.

Progress has been achieved in the fields of economy and trade, health and education, as well as other important areas. 

However, there is certainly enormous potential in other fields, such as transport, infrastructure, agriculture, communications and tourism, which we are yet to unlock. 

Russia, Semivolos said, is actively encouraging Russian business community to seek cooperation partners in Uganda with focus on promoting mutually beneficial projects in the areas of common interest. “We strongly believe that Russia-Uganda relations have significant scope for further expansion," he said.

Last year, the ambassador also mentioned, the two countries launched co-operation between the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the leading party of Russia – the United Russia Party, headed by former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The two countries prioritise co-operation in the education sphere,” he said. 

This year alone, Russia has provided 218 completely covered scholarships to Ugandans for vocational studies in Russia, and 50 scholarships for education in the institutions of higher learning.

To aid the co-operation further, he said, this August, a Russian language centre will be opened at Makerere University to ensure those students seeking education in Russia would gain knowledge of the Russian language. 

credit - New Vision

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