By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Saudi Arabia has hailed the ties the kingdom has with Uganda and vowed to further strengthen the relations for the good of both countries.
Mr Jamal Mohammed Al-Madani, the Saudi envoy to Uganda, said in a statement many agreements have been signed to ensure the friendly mutual relations are deepened.
“Relations between the two countries are witnessing increasing cooperation in the fields of defense, economy, science and society,” Al-Madani said in a recent statement.
He added that the nations have worked closely bilaterally in “multilateral arenas on regional and international issues as they share joint membership in the United Nations and the organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), among the membership of international organizations”.
According to the envoy, several mutual visits have helped to strengthen bilateral cooperation against global issues such as terrorism, human rights, refugees and social development.
“The growth of trade between the two countries is expected after the adoption of Saudi Arabian Airlines to officially operate in Uganda,” the Ambassador added.
In November last year, Foreign Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo invited investors from Saudi to explore sectors 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”.
Ties between the two countries have also stretched to areas of health where Saudi extended support to Uganda to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
“The state of Uganda benefits from the amount of one billion US dollars being invested in developing African countries implemented by the Saudi African investment program to alleviate the burden of Covid-19 on the African continent,” the envoy stated.
In October 2021, the two countries signed a general agreement on cooperation and a memorandum of political consultation.
“The general agreement on cooperation includes encouraging cooperation between the two countries in the economic, trade, investment, educational, artistic, cultural, media, tourism, youth and sports fields, and it also opens up prospects for concluding bilateral agreements specialized in areas of interest to the two countries,” Al-Madani said.
Currently, Uganda has about 200,000 migrant workers working in Saudi Arabia and there is an agreement signed between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Uganda on employment. “This agreement is subject to development, evaluation and review.”