Uganda has been praised for its active engagements to develop collaboration and bilateral relations with other nations in the area and the African continent by the Honorable Grace Naled Mandisa Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.
She was speaking on July 11, 2022, at the Serena Hotel in Kampala during the Second Session of the South Africa-Uganda Joint Commission for Cooperation.
Strong bilateral cooperation between African countries and regional economic communities, according to Pandor, who co-chaired the session with Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, is a sine qua non to the realization of Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want, which is characterized by sustainable economic prosperity and is united, interconnected, and interdependent.
He asserts that Uganda, like South Africa and numerous other African countries, is endowed with abundant natural resources, human resources, and financial resources that can aid Africans in overcoming the continent’s enduring issues with poverty, disease, unemployment, inequality, and underdevelopment.
“A better living for all can be achieved during our lifetimes, but we must collaborate to overcome these shared developmental difficulties that transcend national boundaries.”
As the African Union celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, he said it is important to reassert and defend the AU’s Pan-Africanist vision and to guard against attempts by outside or foreign interests to sway the organization.
“We must not allow ourselves to lose sight of the goals set forth in ‘Agenda 2063, The Africa We Want,’ which represent the aspirations of our people. It is the responsibility of like-minded nations like South Africa and Uganda to uphold the fundamental principles and objectives of the AU and guarantee that the Continent’s socioeconomic growth is the organization’s primary area of strategic concentration.
The promotion and defense of human rights, the reaffirmation of Africa’s stance on climate change, the banning of firearms, the expansion of intra-African trade and industrialization, the self-financing of continental and regional integration projects, etc., all still need to see significant improvements.
He asserted that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement’s (AfCFTA) implementation is essential to supporting the continent’s post-Covid-19 epidemic economic recovery efforts.
He claims that tensions between and among states continue to jeopardize the successful pursuit of the continental development goal.
Uganda’s efforts to improve ties in the East Africa region have been closely watched by South Africa.
“Honorable Minister of State, your nation is renowned for its steadfast dedication to the realization of Pan-objectives, Africanism’s to promoting the sovereignty and independence of African nations, and to promoting regional integration. In light of this, we recognize Uganda’s efforts to revive bilateral ties with nations in the area and across the continent of Africa.
Okello Oryem, State Minister for Foreign Affairs
According to him, issues relating to trade and investment are crucial, thus it is necessary to solve all the problems that pose a danger to and obstruct the strengthening and broadening of bilateral cooperation.
According to him, this is intended to lower the cost of doing business between the two nations, remove obstacles to market access for goods made in our two nations, and explore strategies to encourage investment protection, particularly now that the AfCFTA has been ratified by both governments.
“The content, scope, and direction of our engagements should be influenced by the search for solutions to the eradication of poverty, the creation of jobs, and the reduction of inequality, as these are challenges that our people in both nations share.”
Minister Oryem responded by stating that South Africa and Uganda have a long history of cooperation and struggle, as well as excellent bilateral connections.
He expressed his gratitude for the group’s decision to take time out of their hectic schedule to visit the Oliver Tambo Leadership Academy in Kaweweta.
He claimed that South Africa is one of Uganda’s main commercial partners.
The value of trade between South Africa and Uganda in the year ending 2021 was calculated to be around US$ 194 million.
“We think there is a lot more we can do jointly to broaden the spectrum of export goods and address all non-trade facilitating measures, including collaborative cooperation on standards issues and relaxing the visa requirements for our private sector,” the statement continued.
Oryem contends that the private sector is essential to economic development and that South Africa is a major source of foreign direct investment into Uganda.
“MTN’s presence among us now is evidence of South African companies’ involvement in Uganda.
We appreciate and embrace MTN’s contribution, along with that of many others, to Uganda’s socioeconomic change.
He suggested that they hold a Joint Business Forum concurrently with the Joint Commission of Cooperation at the following meeting.
“We encourage further businesses to investigate investment opportunities in Uganda. Agroindustrialization, petroleum development, tourism development, and mineral development are among the industries that our National Development Plan III has selected as priorities.