Gold exports more than doubled in the period between January 2018 and January 2019, according to data from Bank of Uganda (BoU).
For instance, the data indicates, Uganda fetched $1.362b (Shs5 trillion) from gold exports up from $575m (Shs2.1 trillion) in the period under review.
This, BoU says, indicates a 57 per cent increase in the calendar ended January 31, 2020.
“In this period, a total of 29,854 kilogrammes of gold were exported out of the country,” the reported noted, indicating that the volumes double from 14,667 kilogrammes that had been exported in the same period the previous year.
Gold exports have been rapidly growing from 1,890 kilogrammes, which was valued at $63m (Shs233b) in 2015 to the current 29,854 kilogrammes.
This has been attributed to recent developments in the sector that have seen a number of global companies establish refineries here.
Recently, Mr John Lwere, the Uganda Export Promotion Board trade and information executive, told Daily Monitor they were still studying the trends in performance, noting that the growth could have been influenced by the entry of large gold refining companies such as Bullion refinery.
“If the new player is already into refining, together with what the African Refinery is processing, then this is one of the reasons responsible for the jump in volumes,” he said.
Much of Uganda’s gold is exported to the Middle East with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) being the biggest market.
Dr Fred Muhumuza, an economist and a lecturer at Makerere, yesterday said gold exports have in the last five years increased mainly because of a refinery in Entebbe that attracts regional gold dealers.
Uganda, he said, could also be benefiting from gold re-exports, especially from DR Congo and Venezuela, noting that there could also be an increase in people moving their money into gold investment.
In Uganda, gold is mainly mined in parts of Kigezi, Mubende, Karamoja Buhweju and Ibanda.
Other areas are Namayingo, Busia and Kitumbi in central Uganda. Much of the mining is artisanal and on a small scale.