Odrek Rwabwogo, Entrepreneur and Senior Presidential Advisor – Special Duties, said the Uganda-DRC business summit has already started to bear positive fruits.
“A month after our trade mission to the DRC, we were due to report on progress yesterday,” he tweeted on Friday.
He added: “10 companies so happy have already taken orders for eggs, chicken, mushrooms and IT services. Our chicken sales goal alone is $350 million by 2028. Such happy entrepreneurs are answering the call!
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the first leg in Kinshasa on June 3, 2022, Rwabwogo said trade and exports require effective and authentic unity to penetrate complex markets that have little information, multiple languages and cultures. and unreliable data like this.
“We can’t talk to each other about the markets. We must work hard in unity to enter together.
“Everything we need to grow youth businesses and grow our business is here – the reason why 200 business people have come with us over these two weeks and have so far signed 300 deals over the past few days we held B2B sessions. I’m so hopeful that this unit that we showed in the market, we can keep it. It’s the only way to reduce the risk of logistics, transportation, warehousing, etc. and to ensure that large and small companies get a piece of the action.
He was looking forward to the 12 sectors: coffee, fish, cereals, sugar, cement, dairy, beef, tourism, steel and cement, and bananas, which can now do well in this market and help increase national incomes.
“I need us not to waste time in silos and focus on this market. The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) Board should have a dedicated strategy and staff for this effort on the DR Congo market.
Rwabwogo said he was happy to see the first sprouts of the realization that capital, skills and investments only grow better if local African businesses work together without waiting for transnational corporations (MNCs) who grant less support. mental and social attention to these young markets.
Having joint marketplace agreements means that we start to weigh and measure each other as companies, understand each other and raise funds to meet our needs jointly, he said.
“This is how manufacturing and industry emerge and local capital is built. Policies that protect our local businesses will emerge from this mindset about our nations.
He thanked President Felix Tshishekedi and President Yoweri Museveni for leading the charge to unite “our markets and for supporting our stay here”.
President Museveni chartered a plane for the Ugandan delegation on their return to Goma.
Rwabwogo further thanked the pioneers in the market – Emmanuel Barigye and his team Dynapharm, Movit cosmetics, Mukwano, Mr. Kinene and his transport group, saying that “pioneers are taking big risks to bring us all to a better place.” .
He said he was looking forward to the effort to set up a common warehouse and cold room for Ugandan products “here so that we can slowly bring this market to fully taste our products.”
Opening the second leg of the business summit in Goma on June 6, Rwabwogo called the eastern DR Congo city “an area with strong historical ties to greater East Africa”.
He said Lake Kivu, one of the deepest lakes in Africa and possibly one of the deepest in the world, located at the far west of the Albertine Rift Valley, holds many historical secrets. in culture, customs and trade with East Africa over the past 500 years.
At the beginning of the 19th century, for example, the trade in iron products (spears, hoes and bracelets), agricultural products such as cattle and goats from the Masisi hills, legumes, fish, etc. thrived here, he said.
He said trade with southern Lake Tanganyika connected the western tribes of Uganda and northwestern Tanzania – the Banyambo, Baziba, Wagaba of all Tanzania today and the Banyoro, Batooro, Banyankore; and even the northern Alur, Lugbara, Acholi groups as well as the Baganda of present-day Uganda.
“The lake connected us all to the lakeside tribes of Rwanda and the peoples of central-eastern Congo. It was the forest peoples called the Lega, Tembos and Nyanga societies who conducted the trade from here.
“The trade in ivory, iron and foodstuffs that we know often ended up supporting the small kingdoms of Busongora and Nkore making them richer than they should, was very autonomous from many political entities and kingdoms of the Great Lakes and it thrived no matter who was in control.
He said that the trade on this lake where the cities of Goma and Gisenyi are located, was the first expression that money knows neither kings nor queens nor borders.
Stability is key to trade, Rwabwogo said, adding that trade also linked the east coast Swahili groups of Mombasa, Pemba, Kilwa, Zanzibar and Malindi – towns that prospered before the Portuguese invasion in 1505 – with the Congo. and the Ugandan hinterland.
“This connection is very much alive today and even more necessary given the increase in our populations and the demand for stability and wealth for Africa.”
Three strategic proposals
While appreciating the Governor of Goma, General Ndiima Kongba, and the Mayor for their warm hospitality, Rwabwogo said the city of Goma already has a significant percentage of trade relations with Uganda.
Here is what he offered:
1) We bring you a number of Ugandan SMEs who will share products (dairy, meats, coffee, tea, cement, sugar, cables, poultry, etc.) and services such as accounting, technology, medicine, education, etc Together we can develop skills, good partnerships and exchanges that will give us a better capital base for our two countries. In this market, consumption, prices and demand are high, but patent and R&D needs are still very low, which allows us to grow together.
This means our businesses can grow organically and at a healthy pace with yours! When we grow stronger together through this exchange, we will build a base that multinational capital (MNE), which tends to stop local capital formation in developing countries, will lose the incentive to come and stunt our growth. When they come as they will, they will be our partners and not our competitors. Let me give you an example. In Kinshasa, we have been driven in Hyundai executive cars from Korea for the past five days.
2) When we achieve the first goal, above, we now enter a new, very critical phase – that of the joint processing of raw materials from here. The best timber, fish, coffee, dairy and beef, fruit and vegetables are found along the 700 km border line from Arua to Goma on both sides of our border. Let me show you why it matters.
The West still wants to keep us in primary commodities – minerals, crude oil, timber, etc. ? It all starts with reflections of cooperation at the corporate level to force this change. This summit should be a good start. Let’s work when the sun is up. These are good days and they might not come back for Africa if we miss this window.
3) Finally, we need a point of contact to keep our business relationship running and growing. Spending time here and studying the market and not leaving a unit point for trade, would be a mistake! I have therefore requested the leaders of the PSFU, FEC in DRC, our Ministries of Trade and MEACA, to find and fund a joint Uganda/DRC cold chain or warehouse to enable industrial and agricultural products to be stored longer here for the market to taste and adjust to.
There are top notch commercial companies that I have seen here that can be involved in setting up and running these facilities. We could start with Goma then Beni and finally Kinshasa. This will facilitate trade and introduce things like insurance, export credit fund and facilitate banking for businesses here and in Uganda. This will also answer the question of demand versus market capacity here and outside of businesses.