Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda Competitive Private Enterprise Support and Trade Expansion (COMPETE)

Client: United States Agency for International Development

2000-2002, SEGIR GBTI

CARANA successfully implemented a USAID-sponsored COMPETE project to strengthen export competitiveness of Uganda's principal economic sectors by aggressively pursuing market opportunities, defining customer requirements in these markets, and organizing the sectors to actively exploit these opportunities. We worked with producers, processors, marketing firms, and associations in four sectors—coffee, cotton/textiles/garments, fisheries, and information and communications technology—to improve prospects for expanding into international markets and attracting foreign investors.

CARANA's approach began by identifying markets in which Uganda's producers have realistic potential and determining demand. Using experts familiar with the European and North American markets, CARANA's COMPETE team worked closely with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the Cotton Development Organization, the Fish Exporters Association, and other associations to launch these new initiatives. We established public-private working groups comprised of private sector entrepreneurs and government officials to pursue these opportunities. In collaboration with the Presidential Task Force on Export Competitiveness, we obtained the direct and enthusiastic support of the President of Uganda in this effort. With his endorsement, in February 2002, we organized a highly successful presidential conference to launch a new 'national competitiveness strategy' for Uganda. The conference attracted 400 participants (of which 50% were high-profile officials, such as President Museveni, government ministers, ambassadors, and CEOs).

Simultaneously, the CARANA team aggressively pursued foreign investors on the conviction that to sustain any export initiative, Uganda must attract foreign capital and technology in order to gain market access abroad. The CARANA team succeeded in attracting a major Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer into Uganda to manufacture garments destined for the U.S. market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative. The investor proposed to train 2,000 women garment-makers in the first year of operations. Similarly, negotiations were made to bring in a Korean textile manufacturer to process high grade Ugandan cotton into fabric for the garment manufacturers.

In the coffee sector, the CARANA team designed a privately-operated coffee auction system to improve the marketing of high-grade arabica coffees sold to European roasters. In the fisheries sector, the team introduced new techniques, such as net caging, to increase the supply of Nile Perch for the European fresh fish market. And in the area of information and communications technologies, the team successfully leveraged the cooperation of South African mobile phone investors to increase telecommunications coverage in the country so that producers can obtain real-time information on market prices and quality standards through an instant messaging system.