- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2004

KAMPALA, Uganda (Kyodo) — Japan soon will open its market for Ugandan agricultural products, its new ambassador to Uganda, Nobuaki Ito, said at a meeting this week with parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi.

“We want honey, vanilla, coffee, fruits,” Mr. Ito said Monday, adding that he will spearhead a campaign to promote exports of Ugandan agricultural products to Japan and woo Japanese tourists.

He also promised to invite Japanese investors to Uganda during his tour of duty.

The ambassador said small and midsize companies in Japan are facing tough times and looking for new markets, which he thinks Uganda will provide.

However, prices for coffee, Uganda’s main foreign-exchange earner, have declined in the global market, and the country now depends mainly on donor funds and some earnings from fish, flower and vanilla exports plus tourism.

Mr. Ssekandi said Ugandans would benefit from Japanese investors because they bring advanced industries.

Uganda imports mainly used cars and electrical appliances from Japan. More than 90 percent of the motor vehicles on Ugandan roads are from Japan, according to statistics from the vehicle-licensing office in Kampala.

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