Kampala and Dar es Salaam have Wednesday launched preparations for the anticipated two-day Uganda-Tanzania Business Forum 2019 scheduled to start on September 5.
The ceremony presided over by State Minister for Regional Affairs Philemon Mateke was held at Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kampala.
Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania said the Forum will be held in Dar es Salaam under the theme “Promoting bilateral trade and investment for growth and sustainable development.”
The one-day private sector led event will be attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli.
Kabonero further revealed that discussions and presentations will revolve around new and existing trade and investment opportunities in Uganda and Tanzania.
He said the event will be preceded by a Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) of Ministers from both sides to resolve the existing trade barriers.
The business forum comes against the backdrop of increased concerns by Ugandans that movement of people and goods especially between Mutukula and Dar es Salaam is hindered by dozens of checks by Tanzanian authorities.
Uganda is determined to tap the Tanzanian market which has remained tricky for decades.
The Tanzanian ambassador to Uganda said the construction of the standard gauge railway is underway with hopes of reaching Morogoro in the next few months.
Thereafter, he said, the railway line will be extended to Mwanza. This would allow cargo movement from Dar to Mwanza before being loaded on water vessels on Lake Victoria enroute to Port Bell.
The private sector is being encouraged to invest in water vessels to transport goods on Lake Victoria.
Mateke said Uganda and Tanzania enjoy excellent cordial relations which the private sector should exploit to do business.
He said cabinet Ministers and other government departments and policy makers will grace the business forum.
The Acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Isaac Sebulime said Uganda and Tanzania can cooperate in trade in Agricultural products, tourism and development of interstate infrastructure to facilitate economic relations among others.
He also called for value addition in agricultural products.
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs is determined to make sure two business communities prosper,” he added
A representative from Tanzania Private Sector Foundation said, “Our private sector is well organized and ready to work with Ugandan business community for development. We want business partners to develop our economies. If possible to enter into joint ventures. Let’s use historical relations to do more business.”
Officials said the first ever Uganda-Tanzania business forum is expected to set the tone for the sustainable development of the people of Uganda and Tanzania.
The Forum will be held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam.