By Spy Uganda
Delegates from Africa’s 25 coffee-producing countries met in the Ugandan capital of Kampala with the aim of influencing the African Union to make coffee a priority crop on the continent that will pull millions of people out of poverty.
Experts argue that once the continent’s political leadership understands the power of coffee in transforming economies, it will bolster the continent’s efforts to internally trade the “strategic commodity” but also speak with a united force on the international market.
The meeting, dubbed the 2nd G-25 Heads of State Africa Coffee Summit, convened from Aug 7 to Aug 10 under the theme “Transforming the African Coffee Sector through Value Addition,” which is in line with the theme of the 2023 African Union agenda that focuses on accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ezra Suruma, Uganda’s former finance minister and an economist,says that the 25 coffee-producing countries meeting together to speak with one voice is a major step in efforts to influence the international market.
“Coming together like for example petroleum countries have been coming together and influencing, we would also have more influence on the product that we have,” Suruma said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said at the meeting that Africa is losing a lot of income to the international market that continues to prefer taking coffee in its raw form. He told the delegates that out of the US$460 billion global coffee value, the coffee-producing countries only take US$25 billion and Africa gets only US$2.4 billion.