By Boniface Otieno Kanyamwaya
Uganda is among the fastest growing countries in East Africa economically. However, despite its competitive position as a logistics hub, businesses still face a variety of high-level logistics risks including lack of private sector strategy on logistics, poor organisational capacity and technical skills, bureaucracy and red tape in setting up logistics operations, poor transport facilities, weak adoption of logistics practices and dysfunctional advocacy.
It is against this background that Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), Uganda Freight Forwarders Association, Ministry of Works and Transport and National Logistics platform supported by Department of International Development (DFID) through TradeMark East has partnered to host a three day logistics expo that will bring together over 500 participants from logisticians, government officials, civil society organizations, development partners, academicians, and other private sector stakeholders to discuss and define integrated roles each will play in transforming Uganda into a logistics hub.
Titled “Transforming Uganda into a Regional Logistics Hub – What is your role?” the event will result in clearer definition of the various stakeholders’ role in and contribution into realizing Uganda’s dream of becoming a logistics hub.
Speaking prior to the event,Dr Elly Karuhaga, the Chairman of the UCMP noted that , “Oil and Gas require efficient logistics. Now is the time, we expect the first oil to pop out in 2020, a lot is happening, we need to be ready.”
With support from Department of International Development (DFID) through TradeMark East Africa, the National Logistics Platform is developing a 10 year Private Sector Strategy that will meet the needs of the private sector.
This Strategy will identify constraints impacting growth of logistics industry in Uganda, highlight growth targets for the industry over a ten year horizon, develop recommendations to achieve the growth targets and develop a mechanism to monitor implementation of the recommendations.
“We appeal to Government of Uganda to adopt this Strategy.Uganda has begun to play a wider logistics role in the Great Lakes region despite its landlocked position. As a result, Uganda has seen transit volumes grow, which in turn has led to the emergence of a distribution industry especially in Gulu, Jinja and Kampala. A more efficient logistics sector would offer Uganda increased potential for economic diversification,” said TMEA Uganda Country Director Moses Sabiiti.
TMEA envisions to support a logistics hub in Gulu which will complement initiatives by the government. A logistics hub is a location that has been designated for logistics activities and which benefits from inputs from various stakeholders. The Gulu hub will not only enhance exports but boost industrialization, creation of employment and development of the area around Gulu.