Kampala — Uganda's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has said the Saudi government has identified Arab investors that are willing to set up modern facilities to help Uganda boost its capacity to export beef to the Middle East.
Speaking to Daily Monitor last week in Kampala, Mr Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu, Uganda's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Yemen, said Saudi Arabia had banned beef imports from Uganda because of poor standards of slaughter houses.
The ban that was effected in 2008 still stands.
However, following the introduction of commercial diplomacy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ssemuddu said the Ugandan Embassy in Saudi Arabia engaged Saudi authorities to lift the ban on beef exports, and as a condition, the Saudi government identified the investors they say will adhere to the standards.
"Saudi Arabia is the biggest country there and during the Hajj season, they slaughter millions of goats and the demand for fresh fruits is also very high. Our problem is lack of modern facilities and the ability to produce the quantities needed," he said.
"We have looked at it from the broader picture of commercial diplomacy and this is why Parliament approved Islamic banking. We are working on specific arrangements to bring them here and the Saudis are eager to come," he said.
He mentioned Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait as the other countries in the Middle East where investors with expertise in the oil and gas have expressed interest in investing in Uganda because of the oil production which is anticipated to start in 2020.