UK Trade Envoy to Uganda, Lord Popat’s visit to Kampala (Uganda New Vision)
Lord Dolar Popat, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo visited Kampala last week on a trade mission on behalf of the UK Government.
Much of Uganda continues to remain under lockdown, following a recent wave of infections and Lord Popat’s visit represents one of the first official foreign trips to the country since the pandemic began. The main aim of Lord Popat’s visit was to strengthen bilateral relations with Uganda and to assist them with their post-Covid economic recovery.
Lord Popat’s visit coincided with two deadly, terrorist bomb blasts in Kampala which rocked the city. However, Lord Popat was still able to meet with President Yoweri Museveni and continue his trip as planned.
During the visit, Lord Popat pledged his support to help the Ugandan Government with their industrialisation process. Lord Popat said British demand for Ugandan goods such as coffee, maize, sugar, wheat and barley had increased more than ever, particularly after Brexit.
Lord Popat assured to help Ugandans to connect to buyers in the UK, particularly through the introduction of the long-awaited Uganda Airlines which would pave the way for the cheaper and fastest export of goods.
Following Lord Popat’s visit, President Museveni said “Uganda can produce anything as long as the communities are organised and mobilised. Our people have the capacity to produce a lot of coffee and fruits on small pieces of land.”
Aside from the export of agro-products to Britain, a number of flagship projects were discussed during Lord Popat’s visit, including financing Uganda’s pharmaceutical Namanve Park, the established of a British hospital in northern Uganda’s Hoima district and British electricity and solar energy projects.
Speaking during the visit, Lord Popat said, “I am eager to continue to build the UK’s future trade relationship with Uganda. The pandemic has hit both our economics hard, but signs of recovery are on the horizon for Uganda.”
“Why is the UK investing so heavily in Uganda? The answer is simple: Uganda’s prosperity equals UK prosperity. Increased trade between the UK and Uganda will deliver more jobs, increased exports and technology transfers.”
Since Lord Popat’s appointment as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda in 2016, trade with Uganda has quadrupled. Trade figures have remained consistent over the lockdown, including the UK’s largest ever deal signed with Uganda earlier this summer worth $1.9bn with British company McDermott which Lord Popat helped oversee.
The visit by Lord Popat – who was born in Uganda – was also symbolic of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians which will see a series of events taking place in 2022 by the Ugandan Asian diaspora.