The talks are said to have covered several areas of mutual interest, as Algeria reportedly plans to spend $1 billion on development projects across Africa. Building and funding a refinery as Uganda gears for first oil in 2025, was among the top issues discussed.
“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,” Museveni said after the talks.
He said they discussed issues on growing the prosperity of Africa and agreed to work together in the areas of trade, energy, education, agriculture and counter-terrorism where they have experience in this, just like Uganda.
“In Algeria we have reliable partners : we are looking at powdered milk which is already coming here, coffee, tea and then products from Algeria of petroleum and petrochemicals.”
The Dairy Development Authority says that in addition to milk powder, Uganda will be exporting other dairy products, having completed a technical verification of the dairy value chain regulatory framework by the Algerian team in December 2022.
On whether Uganda has the capacity to supply such quantities, DDA says Uganda now produces 3.2 billion liters of milk annually, with just over three quarters put onto the market. Uganda earned 3.8 trillion Shillings (US$1 billion) from raw milk production in 2021/2022. This was an improvement from the 3.01 trillion in the previous year.
Samson Akankiza, the Acting Managing Director says dairy exports bounced back to 102.6 million dollars last year from US$92.4 million recorded in the year 2020/21. The exports are yet to reach the 2018 US$130 million levels.
“Algeria’s milk production is generally low and most of their milk products are being imported from other countries. Uganda has quality milk which is organically produced meaning we shall have the best product on the market,” Akankiza said.
Uganda imported milk worth US$4.2 million. “The Joint Permanent Commission and business-to-business meetings between the two countries in Algiers will see some deals being signed off,” he said. This would come as a relief to milk producers and exporters who have over the years suffered hiccups and uncertainties in the regional market.
The two heads of state are also scheduled to attend the first-ever business forum between Algeria and Uganda before Museveni returns home on Monday.