30 June 2021, Amsterdam.
A meeting between CFC and the Government of Uganda was organised virtually today (30 June 2021). During the meeting, Ambassador Belal, Managing Director of CFC briefed Ambassador Blaak Sow, Ambassador of Uganda in Brussels, Mr. Emmanual Mutahunga, Governor of Uganda in the CFC and other dignitaries on the current as well as probable future initiatives of the CFC. Ambassador Belal elaborated on the elements, what he termed as green recovery in a post pandemic era, to help COVID-19 wrecked smallholder and SMEs to get to their feet on the ground at the earliest. Ambassador Belal wished to see more working relations and partnership with Uganda in the days to come.
After exchange of usual greetings and pleasantries, Ambassador Blaak Sow inaugurated the meeting by a round of introductions. In the course of the discussion, it was remarked that there exist significant opportunities for enhanced cooperation along the commodity value chain with Uganda. Recalling our rich history of project implementation in Uganda over the years, Ambassador Belal stated that all we need good project proposals and a helping structure to implement more projects in Uganda.
Ambassador Blaak Sow, highlighting impressive socio-economic development of Uganda, assured that her government would strive to remain engaged with the CFC in a way so that more projects could be implemented in Uganda and the region. She highly appreciated the leadership of CFC for their, according to Ambassador Blaak, innovative and spirited work. She also assured to help CFC for greater familiarity and network with other entities in Brussels include the European Union.
Ambassador Belal, while thanking Ambassador Blaak for her strong support for CFC, urged the government of Uganda for consideration of more government guaranteed projects in order to expedite project roll out and also at a concessional rate of cost. If we are to make up for the lost time and opportunities due to COVID-19, we will have to work out of the box with ideas like more and more government guaranteed projects. As an LDC, Uganda may explore such guarantee from other donor countries and UN and international organisations including Bretton Wood ones.
Among others, the following points were discussed in the meeting:
A. The CFC’s call for proposals;
B. A briefing on the effect of COVID-19 on the working of the CFC; and
C. An update on the CIIF.
Before taking leave, Ambassador Belal urged Ambassador Blaak Sow to disseminate the information on the call for proposals widely among Ministries, Chamber of Commerce, Commodity Organisations and Cooperatives etc., so that qualified SMEs/enterprises could submit quality projects from Uganda for consideration by the Executive Board of CFC, and thus participation from Uganda could increase in the near future.
The meeting further touched upon the Commodities Impact Investment Facility (CIIF), the establishment of which is currently being considered in a Working Group of the Governing Bodies of the CFC. The Government of Uganda expressed its support and interest and was looking forward to its establishment so that CIIF could complement the financing options currently available to the CFC. The meeting was concluded by Excellency Blaak Sow with the assurances of remaining engaged and do the necessary follow up in the days to come.
The delegation from Uganda further comprised Mr. Emmanual Mutahunga, Ag. Commissioner, External Trade from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives in Kampala, and Mr. Denis Manana, Minister Plenipoteniary, and Ms. Byonabye B.B. Mwesigwa, Third Secretary, from the Embassy in Brussels.
H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), was accompanied by Mr. Andrey Kuleshov, Strategy and Development Advisor of the CFC.