Museveni in Vietnam to strengthen ties

President Museveni last evening touched down at Noi Bài international airport in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi on a three-day state visit to the Southeast Asian country.

The visit, at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuân Phúc, is the first by a Ugandan high ranking official.

Vietnam and Uganda enjoy modest bilateral relations established in February 1973, although both are yet to open an embassy in each other’s capital. Uganda’s embassy in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, oversees Kampala’s diplomatic interests in Vietnam.

Trade between both countries hit $14m (about Shs52b) in 2021, with Vietnam exporting mainly textile-garments, spare parts, among others, while Uganda imported especially coffee, timber and animal feeds.

The President is accompanied by among others, Foreign Affairs minister Gen Jeje Odongo, Agricultural minister Frank Tumwebaze, Finance minister Matia Kasaija and ICT minister Chris Baryomunsi.

Diplomatic sources in Hanoi told Monitorr last evening that President Museveni will today (Thursday) hold bilateral talks with President Phuc, at which occasion they will witness signing of several bilateral agreements.

According to sources, he will later visit the resting place of the former Vietnamese Marxist President Ho Chi Minh to pay tribute.

President Minh’s mausoleum is located at Ba Đình Square in the middle of Hanoi, where he proclaimed the country’s independence as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945 from the French. He went on to serve as President from 1945 until his death in 1969.

President Museveni, who during the 1980-1986 insurgency against Milton Obote government professed Marxist ideal, made a U-turn upon shooting his way to power, and embraced capitalism, which among others, turned him into a darling of Western powers, will pay afterwards a courtesy call to Mr Nguyen Phú Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, who has ruled the Southeast Asian country since 1930.

He is also expected to visit the headquarters of Vietnam’s largest information technology, FPT Corporation, on the outskirts of Hanoi: visit the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences reputed for animal and plant genetic resource conservation and later open the Vietnam-Uganda Business forum, which is aimed at bringing private sectors of the two countries together.

The business forum will specifically explore business opportunities for either private sectors in the fields of ICT, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture, especially in coffee value-addition—which President Museveni has been laboring with for years, including recently through the shadowy Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited overseen by the controversial Italian investor Enrica Pinetti.

Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producing and exporting country after Brazil and followed by Colombia.

During the first six months of 2022, Vietnam according to its Agriculture and Rural Development ministry, exported some 889,900 tonnes of coffee and raked in $2b (about Shs7.2trillion).

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