Serbian Investors to Boost Ugandan Coffee Exports to Balkans and Eastern Europe

Rwabwogo (centre) with Serbian investors after signing the agreement at the airport of Nis in Serbia recently

HABARI DAILY I Kampala, Uganda I In a significant development aimed at adding value to Ugandan products and boosting its coffee industry, Serbian investors are set to embark on processing and exporting roasted coffee from Uganda to the Balkans and eastern Europe. This initiative aligns with President Yoweri Museveni’s vision to enhance the value of Ugandan coffee and increase earnings for the nation.

The journey towards this collaboration began in July when President Museveni met with Dr. Vladimir Orlic, the President of the Serbian National Assembly, in Belgrade, Serbia. During this meeting, Museveni emphasized Uganda’s success in various economic sectors and the country’s determination to expand its endeavors, starting with coffee.

“We want the fair-minded outsiders to work with us to add value to our coffee at the source so that instead of getting only $2.5 per kilogram of good coffee, we share more out of the $40 per kilogram of processed coffee,” Museveni stated.

According to Odrek Rwabwogo, the Chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), Serbian investors, including Kafića Moja, one of the largest coffee sellers in hotels and supermarkets in Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro, will play a pivotal role in processing and exporting roasted coffee from Uganda to the Balkans.

In a recent statement, Rwabwogo announced that an agreement had been signed with the Nis airport in Serbia to facilitate the transportation of Ugandan cargo to the Balkans and eastern Europe. This agreement provides Ugandan exporters with more than 750 square meters of storage and shipment space for their products, which will then be shipped to the seaports of Thessaloniki in Greece, Durres in Albania, and Varna in Bulgaria, all within a short sailing distance from southern Serbia.

The port of Nis serves as a hub for receiving and clearing cargo from Asia and Africa into the Balkans, making it an ideal point for the distribution of Ugandan products into the European market.

Rwabwogo also confirmed that several Serbian companies had already placed orders worth $200 million (approximately UGX 750 billion) for Ugandan products, including vanilla, coffee, banana flour, cocoa, flowers, dried fruits, and nuts.

The agreement and partnership were witnessed by Rwabwogo and were facilitated by Uganda’s Trade Representative in the region, Bratislav Stoiljkovic.

Additionally, Rwabwogo’s visit to Serbia included discussions with the country’s trade minister, Tomislav Momirovic, to advocate for tax-free entry for Ugandan products and services into Serbia, as agreed upon between Presidents Museveni and Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia in July.

Furthermore, this new storage and shipment base in Serbia offers Ugandan companies a significant advantage by providing access to a GDP market of over $100 billion in the Balkans. It will also help reduce storage and shipment costs once connected to Entebbe and Mombasa or through air travel from Entebbe.

In essence, this partnership opens up opportunities for Ugandan businesses to explore and tap into the growing European market and facilitates Uganda’s quest to add value to its coffee industry, bringing prosperity and growth to the nation’s economy

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