What you need to know:
Before the closure, Ugandan exports to Rwanda -- predominantly cement and food -- totaled more than $211m (Shs812b) in 2018, according to World Bank figures, while Rwanda exported $13m (Shs50b) worth of goods to Uganda.
Uganda’s exports to Rwanda are showing signs of rebound, after six-months of reopening the borders to trade.
The border closure which lasted nearly three years, saw Uganda’s exports to Rwanda decline to a mere $60,000 (Shs230m) in July 2019, following a trade and political dispute between the two regional neighbours.
But the tide is gradually changing. Latest Bank of Uganda records released for the month of July, indicate that the country exported goods worth $5.22 million (Shs20 billion) to Rwanda - a 98.8 percent recovery.
Experts who talked to this newspaper about the increase, expressed mixed thoughts saying although the $5.2m is not yet equivalent to the original average monthly earnings of $17m, it is promising.
Mr John Lwere, the exports executive at the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) in an interview with this newspaper, yesterday said trade is picking up after the reopening which occurred early this year.
“Until we go back to the level where we were before the stand-off, we have to be cautious about our expectations,” Lwere said.
He further added that the total recovery will also be subject to the effects of the factors brought about by the global economic trends.
Lwere said: “During the time of the staff-off, Rwanda was buying similar goods it used to get from Uganda from other destinations. So Uganda needs to look for ways of attracting buyers to comeback and buy from us.”
Dr Fred Muhumuza an economist, equally says, "We can’t mention that the importer was also too hungry and has to import a lot of food to restock. In future, we might see levels reduce. That said, $5.2m is still far below previous levels of $15-$20m earned per month, ” Muhumuza added.
Before the closure, Ugandan exports to Rwanda -- predominantly cement and food -- totalled more than $211m (Shs812b) in 2018, according to World Bank figures, while Rwanda exported $13m (Shs50b) worth of goods to Uganda.
Trade plummeted in 2019, with the situation further exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Rwanda officially reopened its borders with Uganda on March 7 after nearly three years of closure. Over the last 35 months when the border was closed, there have been at least four tripartite meetings involving presidents Joao Lourenço of Angola and Mr Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a series of lower level meetings between officials of the ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two nations.