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Uganda looks to Sudan for trade By Joseph Olanyo

4/10/2005 10:05 pm

KAMPALA - As peace returns to war torn southern Sudan, Ugandan industrialists and manufacturers are beginning to turn their attention to trade potentials in the area.

The recent comprehensive peace deal signed between the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement and the Sudan government in January, and the resumption of Sudan Airways flights to Entebbe International Airport are some of the key landmarks expected to restore bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries.
Southern Sudan is generously endowed with oil deposits, which could benefit Uganda whose consumption of oil is increasing by the day in thousands of metric litres.

Last week, the Sudanese Oil Ministry signed a $400 million deal to develop its southern oil fields to an initial capacity of 80,000 barrels per day by the end of March 2006.
But Sudan authorities contend that the potential is not only about oil.

The Counsellor Sudanese Embassy in Uganda, Mr Hassan Yousif Ngor Jock, says Sudan has various agricultural products including Gum Arabica, which is used in confectioneries, pharmaceuticals and beverages among others.
Sudan is the main producer of Gum Arabica in the world with over 25,000 tonnes annually.
Sudan is also the second biggest importer of Ugandan coffee, second to the European Union.
The construction industry and consumer goods are some of the big market potentials for Ugandan industrialists in the Sudan

Jock says Uganda can install coffee processors in the Sudan to add value to its products and export to Europe.
"Uganda can have very big processing units in Sudan, which can add value and export to Europe. The processing units would cater for a certain market," Ngor Jock said.
Ngor says Sudan could also be a transit point from which Uganda can export their products to Europe.

Although Ngor agrees that oil remains the biggest bulk puller of foreign interest, it is also the country's highest export trade potential.
Mr James Mulwana, a leading businessman, says Uganda cannot begin an immediate exploitation of southern Sudan but for now manufacturers will export goods to the Sudan until the infrastructure is put in place.

"It is true the potential in that area has not been exploited. However, we are going to start with the distribution of goods as we wait for the basic infrastructure to start manufacturing," he says.
Mulwana is the owner of a string of businesses.
Trade parties from Uganda and Sudan have agreed in principle to work towards trade cooperation.
They have agreed that Uganda sends a trade delegation to identify the possible areas of investments.

During a recent meeting at the Speke Resort Munyonyo the Chairman of the Uganda Manufacturers Association, Mr Abid Alam, urged Ugandan manufactures and exporters to take advantage of the proximity of the Sudan market.

"There is a big capacity to do business with Sudan. That is our market, which we should take advantage of by way of location and proximity," he said.
The Sudanese delegation at the talks, which included ministers and the Sudanese Chamber of Commerce members, observed that the cost of fuel in Uganda is higher than in Sudan.

They suggested that Sudan would construct pipelines to Uganda to facilitate the oil supply.
"There is a huge opportunity for us here. Sudan is going to construct oil pipelines to facilitate the supply," the delegates said in their presentation.
The construction industry and consumer goods are some of the big market potentials for Ugandan industrialists in the Sudan. Even before the peace accord, Ugandan goods have been trickling into southern Sudan.

Manufacturers including House of Plastics, Uganda Battery, Hima Cement, Tororo Cement, Casements, Roofings and Mukwano Group have already shown interest in the Sudan.

Mukwano's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ibnul Hasan Rizvi, says Mukwano is already looking forward for further investment in the area.
"Our products have been going into that market. What we are going to do now is to intensify on the supply," Rizvi said.

Hima Cement's Managing Director, Mr Mbuvi Ngunze, says while it was still early to give a conclusive way forward, he says Hima will take up the potential.
"The projects are always there. We are going to make an assessment," he said.

Goods from Sudan to Uganda and vice versa were shipped through the port of Mombasa to port Sudan. But the opening of the southern route would mean that goods could now be shipped from Khartoum through Juba to Gulu in Uganda and eventually to other parts of the country.

Sudan with its vast area of one million square metres, is ten times Uganda's size. Has a total population of over 39 million that could readily provide market for Ugandan goods.
Once the proposed railway link is established between northern Uganda and Juba, the potential for trade and other bilateral activities will be enhanced.

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