Mr. Phillip Katureebe Tayebwa presenting his letters of credence to Dr Amina Mohamad, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kenya
Mr. Phillip Katureebe Tayebwa on Monday October 10th 2016 presented his letters of credence, appointing him Consul-General of the Republic of Uganda in the Republic of Kenya, to Dr Amina Mohamad Foreign Minister of Kenya. This came ahead of the formal opening of Uganda's Consulate in Mombasa by Hon. Philemon Mateke, Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, set to take place on Saturday October 14th 2016.
In attendance at the ceremony was Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya, Amb. Angelina Wapakhabulo and Amb. Nathan Ndoboli Deputy High Commissioner.
Whereas Uganda has had a post in Kenya for several years, the upgrade to a fully-fledged Consulate will come as a welcome relief to the Uganda Business Community in the coastal city, given the importance of Mombasa port which is the exit and entry point for over 78% of Uganda's exports and imports. The Consulate will facilitate constructive regular engagement with the Kenya Ports Authorities and related Institutions as well as collaboration with the newly established Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) offices in Mombasa.
One of the main handicaps that the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi has faced is difficulty in offering adequate Consular support to the sizable business community in Mombasa, due to, among other things, proximity to the Nairobi. Uganda's High Commission not only oversees Uganda-Kenya bi-lateral relations, it is also accredited to the United Nations Environment Programme, whose workload is quite heavy.
The High Commission in Nairobi has found itself requiring regular interaction with the Ugandan Community in Mombasa; particularly with the adoption of the various East African Community Protocols. The new Consulate will be useful in engaging with and providing correct information to Ugandan traders and businessmen using the Mombasa Port. Regular attendance and participation in the weekly stakeholders meeting coordinated by the Kenya Ports Authority will now be possible due to the creation of this permanent representational post. Among the added benefits of opening up this Consulate will be the ease of engagement and networking with other existing Consulates based in Mombasa.
It is further envisioned that the Consulate's will participate in working together with the Coastal Region in promoting local tourism i.e Kenyans and Ugandans to promote tourism development together under the private sector body for Tourism in East Africa set up to facilitate active and focused engagement of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) Integration process.
EATP works closely with national ministries responsible for Tourism, Wildlife and Transport portfolios, the EAC Secretariat, East African Business Council and private sector organizations in all the member states to promote intra and inter-regional tourism through advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing.
A Consulate in Mombasa, will greatly enhance Uganda's effective interaction with the platform while at the same time ensuring effective follow- up of the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiatives for mutual benefits.
Speaking from Mombasa in the heat of preparations for tomorrow's opening, Mr Tayebwa said that some of the achievements the Consulate has achieved in the short time of its operations since 1st October 2014 included "... a reduced burden for Ugandans from traveling to Nairobi seeking consular services, facilitated the smooth flow of cargo and other imports/exports through the port of Mombasa. - real time information to the traders, intervention in case of theft or fraud, and where there are disputes there are now clear channels on how to address such issues,handled the issues of the waiver, followed up on the agreed activities under the NCIP"
Mr Tayebwa Identified some of the salient issues like loss of marine insurance- responsible ministries have been notified to take appropriate action. Issues of vehicles from countries affected by radiation this was initiated by the Consulate and now there is a regional framework to handle radiation materials.
" We have now managed to secure an exclusive stacking yard for Uganda-destined containers at the port BLOCK C near the new terminal that was launched by President Uhuru a month or so ago. These are just a few of the things we are working on besides the launch tomorrow."