By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Jamal Mohammed Al-Madani, the ambassador of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Uganda, has said the upcoming Saudi Arabia National Day celebrations on September 3 will focus on strengthening common interests between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia and Uganda have friendly relations that have grown and developed over the years, deepened by common interests and mutual benefits and strengthened by mutual visits between the two countries. Relations between the two countries are witnessing increasing cooperation in the fields of defence, economy, science and society.
The two countries have worked bilaterally in multilateral arenas on regional and international issues as they share joint membership in the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), among the membership of international organizations.
Recently, mutual visits have strengthened bilateral multilateral cooperation on issues of global terrorism, human rights, refugees and social development. Meanwhile, there are currently about 200,000 Ugandan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and last year, they remitted about almost $1bn.
According to Al-Madani, there are many successful experiences of Ugandan workers in achieving their ambitions and creating special projects that have had an impact on their lives and helping their families and societies. The two counties signed an agreement on employment which is subject to development, evaluation and review.
On the other hand, the growth of trade between the two countries is expected after the adoption of Saudi Arabian Airlines to officially operate in Uganda. Last November, Uganda, through Foreign minister, Gen Abubakar Jeje Odongo, invited Saudi investors to invest in the fields of agriculture, mining, tourism, health, information and communication technology and expand its import of products from Uganda to include fruits, vegetables, spices, milk and cereals, in addition to the invitation to take advantage of the investment incentives provided.
Uganda is one of the top beneficiaries of Saudi Arabia’s more than $1bn annual investment in Africa and played a pivotal role to alleviate the burden of Covid-19 on the continent.