The republic of Uganda and the Federal Republic of Somalia on August 7 held the first-ever Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) ahead of the inaugural Investment and Business Summit.
The business summit will take place this week at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo running under the theme “Promoting Uganda – Somalia Patnership through Investment, Trade and Tourism”.
The main purpose of the JPC meeting, which was attended by senior officials from both countries, is to strengthen the existing excellent and cordial bilateral relations and deepen cooperation between both countries.
Uganda and Somalia enjoy excellent fraternal relations and strong historical bonds of friendship and solidarity firmly anchored on the principle of Pan-Africanism.
The bilateral relations between the two countries are mainly pursued through bilateral frameworks of Cooperation such as the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) and Joint Permanent Investment and Business Council (JIBC) which will be hosted on a rotational basis between both countries.
Speaking at the JPC meeting, Ambassador Arthur Kafeero, the Acting Director for Regional and International Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who represented the Permanent Secretary, Vicent Bagiire, said Uganda and Somalia enjoy a special bond of friendship emboldened by among others; the commitment to maintain peace and stability in the region and the African continent as a whole, promotion of continental economic integration and the doctrine of African solutions to African problems.
He reassured the Somali delegation of Uganda’s unwavering support towards building of its institutions, especially the Somali Security Forces, to ensure that the progress and gains so far made are consolidated.
Uganda and Somalia signed a Framework Agreement on November 19, 2016, in Kampala.
The Agreement identified specific areas of cooperation within the Political Sector, the Economic Sector and the Social Sector.
“It is these three thematic areas that we, the Senior Officials, will today look at critically and come up with strategic, relevant, attainable and workable parameters for action,” Ambassador Kafeero said.
Almost six years down the road, the Framework Agreement has registered progress in some areas which include; Signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) in August 2019, Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCC&I) and the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry on April 1, 2022.
While these achievements are applauded, Article 5(2) of the Framework Agreement calls for the operationalization of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) and establishment of the Joint Permanent Investment and Business Council (JPIBC).
Amb. Kafeero said, “Our gathering here today, therefore, is a concrete step towards the implementation of the afore-mentioned provisions of the agreement and a true testimony of the strong commitment by both countries to deepen their bilateral relations.”
He welcomed the intention of both parties to conclude three Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of Diplomatic and Political consultations, Defence and Trade.
He said there is a lot of existing trade and investment activity taking place between the two countries in addition to the people-to-people informal interactions that are ongoing at various social setups.