TEHRAN (Iran News) – Tehran-Kampala Trade Affected by Banking and Air Transportation Problems. A Ugandan trade delegation accompanied by Ugandan Ambassador to Tehran met with Iranian businessmen at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture (ICCIMA) in Tehran and during the meeting they explored ways to expand trade ties by resolving current problems and removing obstacles.
In the meeting, Head of International Affairs of ICCIMA Mr. Mohammad Reza Karbasi pointed to the potentials of Uganda and termed Uganda a rich country in terms of having abundance of underground resources like iron ore, gold, copper and untapped oil and gas resources and said Uganda is one of the richest countries in terms of natural resources in East Africa. He said production of coffee, tea,tropical fruits and plant seeds account for major part of Uganda’s economy.
He went on to say that location of Victoria Lake and headwaters of the Nile River in Uganda has given special advantages to the country in East Africa. Karbasi emphasized that there are many potentials for bilateral economic cooperation between Tehran and Kampala and said that according to the studies, Iran’s industrial products and Uganda’s needs of imports can complete each other in many fields.
He said that beside direct economic ties, Iran as an important regional power, can be a gateway for Uganda to have access to the countries in West Asia and to the Central Asian states due to Iran’s good rail and road transportation infrastructures and Uganda can export its major agro products like tea and coffee to those countries. He noted that by the way, Uganda as an important East African state can be a gateway for Iran’s presence to the countries in this part of Africa.
Karbasi announced the interest of the private sector of Iran for having sustainable economic cooperation with Africa and developing it and it is interested in cooperating in profitable projects with Uganda. He admitted that some problems like transportation, banking and exchange of money and lack of direct flights between the two countries have created obstacles for reaching a favorable level of economic exchanges between the two states.
He said trade statistics show that despite huge capacities for bilateral cooperation, the trade volume of Iran and Uganda is insignificant and despite their amicable relation, this level of trade is not satisfactory at all.
He added that both countries should push their bilateral trade towards a win-win direction. He then pointed to some fields that Iran and Uganda can expand their economic cooperation like in the fields of technology and agriculture. Karbasi reiterated that due to the considerable progresses of Iranian companies, Iran can cooperate with Uganda in knowledge-based technologies, computer’s software and hardware, electricity and electronic and technology of mining.
He reiterated that if the direct flight is launched, the ground for more bilateral co-operations will be paved like tourism. He said he is aware that some part of trade between Iran and Uganda is done via the third party country which is not to the benefit of the two countries and Iran and Uganda should work on boosting direct bilateral cooperation.
Then Ambassador of Uganda to Tehran Mr. Muhammad Tezikuba Kisambira, for his part, called the meeting some sort of thaw in bilateral relation and said that in the past, the condition for economic and diplomatic cooperation between Iran and Uganda was different but due to diplomatic efforts made by the two states, the ground for joint cooperation was studied and now the views of the two countries are getting close to each other. He said unfortunately the direct flight between the two countries has been halted and this hurdle should be removed very soon. He said the Embassy of Uganda welcomes all Iranian economic activists and it is ready to answer all questions to clear doubts and to resolve problems in line with bilateral economic cooperation.
Kisambira added that despite negative propaganda against Iran, his country pays no heed to those propagations and it will expand this spirit to its neighboring states.
Then the head of the Ugandan trade delegation and manager of Vijana Corps Ms. Fauziah Sumaiah, for her part, said that there are some misunderstandings against Iran in Africa but the Embassy of Uganda has expressed hope those misunderstandings will be cleared soon. She went on to say that there are many opportunities for taking advantage in Uganda, adding that Uganda’s imports from Iran was $13m in 2018 but it declined sharply in 2020. She added that Uganda’s exports to Iran was around $800,000 in 2018 which fell to $400,000 in 2020 and the figure shows a huge trade gap between the two countries which should be minimized.
Sumaiah noted that resolving banking problems and restoring direct flight between Iran and Uganda can help the economic cooperation of Iran and Uganda to go ahead successfully.