Uganda exported more goods to Kenya than any other country in the East African region in the period running between January and September 2018.
Exports to the country in the period under review stood at Shs1.5 trillion compared to Shs908.7b in 2017.
The growth was driven by increased reliance on Uganda for maize supplies in the period under review.
Tanzania’s exports to Kenya stood at Shs820b down from Shs768b while Rwanda exported goods worth Shs499b from Shs483b in the period.
Uganda accounted for 70.36 per cent of the nearly 419,548 tonnes of Kenya’s maize imports, an equivalent of about 4.66 million 90-kilogramme bags, in the five months leading to May, according to data from Kenya Revenue Authority.
High import value
However, imports from East Africa’s largest economy to Uganda were slightly higher standing at Shs1.7 trillion, a slight decrease from Shs1.73 trillion in 2017.
Uganda has in the last five years decreased its trade deficit with Kenya, which at some point had stood at more than Shs500b.
On the whole, the value of Kenya’s imports from neighbouring countries jumped by 42.64 per cent in nine months through September amid flat growth in exports.
Kenyan traders trucked in goods worth Shs2 trillion within East Africa compared to Shs1.4 trillion in the same period in 2017.
This was largely due to Kenya’s reliance on her neighbours for food supplies such as maize.
Data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, indicate imports from EAC countries increased by nearly one-and-a-half times compared with Shs834.7b in the corresponding period in 2016.
Exports to the EAC countries, on the other hand, continued a marginal but steady decline to Shs3.2 trillion in the period from Shs3.21 trillion a year earlier, Shs3.4 trillion in 2016 and Shs3.58 trillion in 2015.
Persistently higher demand for imports from the region than exports may mean Kenyan jobs are being lost to neighbouring countries such as Uganda.
Kenya has for long been East Africa’s source of imports but the country has been ceding ground to other East Africa countries with manufacturers blaming the trend on multiple fees and levies, relatively high power charges and inefficiencies at factories for piling up the cost of production, making locally made goods expensive in regional markets.