Gold leads exports recovery after four-month slump

Wednesday July 08 2020

Gold has for about two years been Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner. File photo

Uganda’s export receipts recovered in May after a four-month slump since January, according to a Bank of Uganda report.

The report released last week, analyses trade performance since January to May.
In May, according to the report, the country exported goods worth $290.93m (Shs1 trillion) up from $207.15m (Shs776b) in April, indicating a 28.7 per cent) growth.
Gold, coffee, fish and related products, flowers and oil re-exports were the main exports in the period, the report notes.

Gold exports, which has for a long time been Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner fetched $126m (Shs473b).
“In this period [May] a total of 2,470 kilogrammes of gold were exported out of the country up from 1,180 kilogrammes [in April],” the report reads in part, noting the performance in the period was the highest in three-years.

The highest gold has ever earned was in June 2017 when it fetched $120m.
Most of Uganda’s gold is exported to the Middle East with United Arab Emirates (UAE) being the main destination.

Mr John Lwere, the Uganda Export Promotion Board trade and information executive, said: “One of the thing we think is driving gold sales is because … most investors are buying it [given that it] is a more secure and a safer option,” he said.

Coffee followed, earning Uganda $42.48m (Shs159b) down from $36.93m (Shs138b) in April.
In the period, Uganda exported 437,597 kilogramme bags up from 359,973 kilogramme exported in April.


Uganda remains Africa’s leading coffee exporter and among the top 10-global producers but the commodity continues to struggle with a fall in international prices for over a year now.

Sugar, which has had some headwinds since September last year, recorded an increase, fetching $11.44m (Shs42.9b) up from $6.5m (Shs24bn) in April.
Uganda mainly exports its sugar to DR Congo, South Sudan and Zambia and sometimes to Kenya and Tanzania.
In May last year, Uganda had built stockpiles of at least 170,000 tonnes due to an export blockade slapped by Tanzania on Uganda’s sugar.

Fish and related products, which had registered years of decline continues to recover and during May earnings worth $9.78m (Shs36.6b) were recorded compared to $6.76m (Shs25b) in April.

At least a total of 1,410 tonnes of fish were exported in the period up from 1,122 tonnes in April, mainly to European Union, US, China, parts of EAC and DR Congo.

Flower exports
Fruits and vegetables
Flowers, which had registered massive volatility in the lead to global Covid-related lockdowns, recovered in May earning the country $4.30m (Shs16b) up from $3.87m (Shs14b) in April.

The increase, according to experts, was mainly driven by events such as Mother’s Day, which usually drive up flower demand, especially in Europe and the Americas.
Fruits and vegetables recorded an increase fetching $3,86m (Shs14.4b) up from $2.67m (Shs10b) in April.