Uganda and Algeria have signed two cooperation agreements and five Memoranda of Understanding in different areas. They include an agreement between Sonatrach, the national oil company of Algeria, and the Uganda Oil Refinery Holding Company Ltd with the aim of participating in the development of Uganda's refinery.
Among the areas to be agreed on is for the Algerian parastatal to acquire a stake in the Ugandan company, which is yet to receive financing to commence construction. "We are looking at Algeria investing in our refinery. We want to build an inland refinery. It is absolutely necessary because it will cut transport costs seeing that we are far away from the coast," said Museveni after the meeting with his host.
Dr. Michael Mugerwa, the General Manager of Uganda Refinery Holding Company, and Sonatrach Chairman and CEO, Toufik Hakkar each signed for their respective countries. The MoU covers oil and gas cooperation-Upstream, Midstream (refining and petrochemicals), Downstream, capacity building, and Oil & Gas Services.
This is part of the outcomes of the three-day state visit by President Yoweri Museveni who also led a delegation of government officials and private sector representatives. Sonatrach's core activities include research, production, transport and development, and Marketing of Hydrocarbons.
Other MoUs signed are for cooperation in the field of trade, higher education, and scientific research. Other agreements were in the areas of energy, agriculture, and animal health. During the meeting, between the delegations, it was revealed that at least 150 Algerian representatives of private and public organizations are to visit Uganda soon to explore business opportunities.
"We discussed issues on growing the prosperity of Africa; agreed to work together in the areas of trade, energy, education, agriculture, and counter-terrorism where they have experience in this, just like us," said Museveni.
Uganda is hoping to increase its agricultural exports to Algeria. "We are looking at powdered milk which is already coming here, coffee, tea, and then products from Algeria of petroleum and petrochemicals," said Museveni from Algiers.
Late last year, after a meeting with the Algerian Ambassador to Kampala, Museveni said that the country had shown a willingness to buy powdered milk from Uganda worth US $500 million. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries said apart from milk, the MoUs signed cover several other items, like education, animal health, oil and gas, tourism, and trade.
"They will buy our Powdered milk and coffee and later bananas. We shall in turn buy from them animal health drugs and others," he said. Tumwebaze said what is needed now is improving production and product quality to match the requirements of the market.
"Worry not anymore about the market for our diary. The only condition is to perfect our value chain standards which so far have been approved!"