What you need to know:
Experts say that despite the few single commodity trade wars, Uganda still exports a lot more of other products to Kenya.
Uganda’s exports to neighboring Kenya have increased despite the continued trade impasse between the two countries.
Latest statistics from Bank of Uganda for the cumulative period December 2020 to November 2021 show that the country exported goods worth $544.5m (Shs1.9trillion) to Kenya.
This was a 17 percent increase from $447.8m (Shs1.5 trillion) the country registered during the 2019-2020 period. This too was higher than the $428.8m (Shs1.5 trillion) the country earned in 2018-2019.
The BoU report further shows that on a monthly performance, Uganda’s exports to Kenya, have too recovered from a three-month decline.
In November 2021, Uganda exported goods to Kenya worth $56m (Shs198bn) up from $40m, $39m and $36m earned in August, September and October respectively. Experts say that despite the few single commodity trade wars, Uganda still exports a lot more of other products to Kenya.
Dr Fred Muhumuza an economist and lecturer at the School of economics, Makerere University in an interview said: “People do exaggerate the quarrels Uganda has with Kenya. These quarrels are usually over one item, which don’t last for long.”
Adding: “These quarrels do not mean that other items are not being exported to Kenya. I am not surprised that our export volumes are continuing to grow.”
Uganda’s exports to Kenya mainly include milk and cream, tobacco, cane, maize, Poultry, electrical energy and plywood among others.
The BoU report shows however that in terms of the trade balance, Uganda’s imports from Kenya still outweigh exports. by about 31 percent.
In the period 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, Uganda’s import bill to Kenya has hovered at $784m, $800.5m and $800.7m respectively.
Muhumuza adds that it is impossible that Ugandans are importing more from other source markets products that they used to access from Kenya.
“Uganda might be importing goods from other countries like China and this is done by the Chinese bringing items directly into the country,” Muhumuza observed.
Uganda’s imports from Kenya are mainly palm oil and its fractions, iron or non-alloy steel, petroleum oils and salt among other goods.
Regionally, Kenya remains Uganda’s leading trading partner, followed by South Sudan, DR Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
The BoU report shows that in November Uganda exported goods worth $56m (Shs198bn).
South Sudan which is troubled by instability, is gradually increasing its trade with Uganda. In the period in review (December 2020 to November 2021), Uganda exported goods worth $44.3m (Shs157bn).
This was followed by DR Congo with export trade worth $32.6m (Shs115bn).Tanzania and Burundi followed at a distant $11.5m and $5m respectively.
Uganda’s exports to Rwanda have remained negligible at $50,000 (Shs177m) down from the average of $17m (Shs60.3bn) the country used to earn from her exports.
This has been going on since February 28 2019 when Rwanda closed off her major border with Uganda.
The main products that Uganda exported to Rwanda are Cement ($5.16m), Corn ($3.45m), and Soap ($2.48m). During the last 24 years the exports of Uganda to Rwanda have increased at an annualised rate of 1.74%, from $25m in 1995 to $37.8m in 2019.