Uganda has set out a new strategy for its cotton, textile and apparel sector that could, according to local reports, generate up to 50,000 new jobs and US$650m in additional export revenues over the next eight years.

The Cotton Textiles and Apparel (CTA) strategy is part of the country's National Development Plan NDPIII, and was announced last week as part of a workshop by the National Planning Authority. It aims to increase cotton production and scale-up domestic value addition, with part of the strategy also said to include establishing five new vertically integrated textile mills.

According to a Facebook post from the NPA, the strategy will harness the potential of the CTA industry to accelerate economic growth, create employment and earn foreign exchange for the country. The Uganda government has prioritised the sector as fundamental to the process of industrialisation and the subsequent realisation of the medium and long-term national development targets.

It also says the process to develop the strategy involved extensive consultations with local industry stakeholders and a visit to India and Sri Lanka to gain international experience in the industry.

Development agency Msingi East Africa is supporting the rollout of the strategy, and in a Twitter post says the CTA has the capacity to act as a key pull factor to other sectors if the economy. It urges the Ugandan government to get on board and seize export opportunities rather than focus on the domestic market.

According to All Africa, which cited junior minister for trade, Michael Werikhe, the proposed strategy is good because it addresses the lower and upper aspects of the value chain through rapid employment creation and sustainable cotton value chain development. "We have a good plan and all we need to do is to make sure that we implement it," he said.