Uganda's trade push follows several years of reduced Chinese lending to the continent and as programmes designed to offer relief to indebted countries as they recover from COVID 19-induced slumps start to expire.
“In my opinion, Uganda can do much better without borrowing. Especially borrowing for ... budget support, balance of payments support,” Museveni added, while speaking to Reuters. The president said he wanted to expand the country's meat, leather and dairy trade and add value to other agricultural exports such coffee, which has long been one of Uganda's main foreign exchange earners.
“We don't import milk or beef. We have now built a leather industry for shoes," Museveni said.
In 2009, Uganda produced nearly 700 million litres of milk and there was only one other major dairy company apart from the state-owned Dairy Corporation.
Now, thanks to improved feed, training and investment in 14 private dairy companies, the country has produced 2.81 billion litres last year, stated the Ugandan Dairy Development Authority.
Museveni wants to expand regional trade, but many barriers remain despite there being a free trade agreement in the region. Uganda used to sell lots of milk to neighbour Kenya, but the latter restricted sales in 2019 and Uganda's milk exports are now 50% of what they used to be before the curbs.