South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked President Museveni to export more coffee, cocoa and vanilla to South Africa as the two countries strengthen trade ties.
In a press briefing aired on South African public broadcaster SABC, President Ramaphosa said: “Building relationships between major South African food producers and Ugandan suppliers of inputs like vanilla, coffee and cocoa could provide a route to expanding into the broader consumer goods market.”
President Museveni is visiting South Africa to the trade forum that is intended to improve economic ties between the two countries and also find a market for Ugandan products.
“South Africa is open to increasing the quantity and diversity of products we source from Uganda, because the success of intra-Africa trade hinges on each of us sourcing from one another and prioritising “made and grown in Africa” products and services,” Mr Ramaphosa added.
“To do so, we need to focus on two aspects in particular: increasing the level of reciprocal investment and increasing the levels of trade.”
President Ramaphosa said South African companies also want to invest more in the banking, retail and telecommunication sectors in Uganda. South African companies such as Eskom, MTN, Stanbic Bank, ABSA and Multichoice are among the major businesses in Uganda.
He said he discussed with President Museveni about South African companies investing in irrigation schemes in Uganda.
President Ramaphosa also disclosed that they discussed conflict in the Eastern DR Congo. Both countries have a huge presence of troops in DR Congo.
President Museveni said they would work together to ensure that there is peace in the DR Congo.
“Terrorists go for soft targets – people who aren’t armed in the villages whom they go and kill,” President Museveni said about rebels in DR Congo, adding that victims then complain that the government isn’t protecting them.
He said DR Congo needs to have self-defence groups that would protect people at the village level.
Asked about why Uganda closed a United Nations human rights office in Kampala, President Museveni said its work was no longer needed in Uganda.
“From the way you are speaking, you seem to know a bit of English. There is what we call superfluous – something that isn’t needed. Because we have the Uganda Human Rights Commission. It is in our Constitution. So having this freelance…confuses our people,” President Museveni said.
He added that many Ugandans didn’t know where to report their complaints.
The President also said the UN human rights office should be taken to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where he said its services are needed.
The trade volumes between the two countries have been dropping, which worries leaders of both countries.
The number of South African companies have reduced from 70 firms to just 36, according to the South African President.
Currently, the trade volume between the two countries in $130m (about Shs484.7b, but the leaders of the two countries want it to increase four-fold in five years’ time.