Uganda’s growth challenged by growing imports
Posted Monday, March 4 2013 at 02:00
Even as Uganda’s exports continue to grow, there is an urgent need for the country to overhaul its local production and exportation strategies or lose out on the regional market.
Uganda has in the past years seen her exports to the EAC grow at a rate of 2 per cent increasing her share of total regional exports from 15 per cent in 2007 to 25 per cent in 2011/12.
However, information contained in the latest World Bank report; Uganda Economic Update, shows that while the country’s exports to the EAC countries, South Sudan and DR Congo have increased, the imports from the same region are also fast growing.
This is worsened by the fact that these countries are trading (importing and exporting) almost similar goods.
For example, in 2012, Uganda’s main regional exports were coffee, tea, mate, spices, animal and vegetable fats, oils, salt, sulphur, lime, iron and sheet, cereals and soap among others.
In the same period, the region’s major imports included salt, cement, lime, sulphur, minerals, fuels, iron and steel, beverages, spirits and plastics among others.
“Within the EAC region, Uganda’s exports per capita grew faster over the years than any of its neighbours at 10.2 per cent per annum. Tanzania’s grew by 9.7 per cent, Rwanda 5.8 per cent, Kenya 4.3 per cent and Burundi 1.2 per cent,” notes part of the report.
Nonetheless, even with this growth, Mr Stephen Paul Gitta, a director at Uganda Exports Promotions Board insists the country must fix its production system or else lose the regional market.
“We have been supplying South Sudan and East Congo by chance. Now that South Sudan has stabilized, they will start manufacturing their own goods,” he said.