Uganda’s exports to Kenya hit Shs231 billion

Cargo trucks exit Uganda at Malaba border. Several Ugandan products, including sugar, milk, poultry and beef products, sugarcane and maize have for a long been subjects of blockades. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • This comes at a time when trade tensions and tempers have been flaring between Uganda and Kenya authorities, in which Ugandan exporters have, in the last four years, suffered numerous losses.  


Uganda’s export receipts to Kenya have continued rising despite trade blockades, with the latest November earnings hitting $62.7million (Shs231b), the highest in over three and half years.

According to a monthly Bank of Uganda (BoU) report, in this period in review, the country’s exports to Kenya registered a 25 percent increase from the $46.8million (Shs173b) earned the previous month of October.

BoU records further indicate that the November revenue was the highest since May 2019 when the country exported goods to Kenya worth $72m (Shs266b).

Responding to this performance, Dr Fred Muhumuza, an economist and lecturer at Makerere School of Economics, said: “This is a good trend, but we now need to see its mirror image from Kenya. How much are we importing? Also check the actual imports and exports across the border.”
Cumulatively for the last four years, the export trend has been on an upward trajectory.

Looking at the BoU statistics for the period December 2021 to November 2022, the country recorded $568m (Shs2.1 trillion). This was higher than the $533m (Shs1.9trillion) the country earned the previous year in review (Dec 2020-Nov 2021).

In the same way, the record further show that in the cumulative period 2019-2020, the country earned $447m (Shs1.6 trillion) which was higher than $428m (Shs1.5trillion) the country earned in 2018 to 2019 respectively.

Surprisingly, this when trade tensions and tempers have been flaring between Uganda and Kenya authorities, in which Ugandan exporters have, in the last four years, suffered numerous losses through unexplained blockades and non-tariff barriers.  

Several Ugandan products, including sugar, milk, poultry and beef products, sugarcane and maize have for a long been subjects of blockades, occasioning huge losses to exporters.
Dr Muhumuza said: “Blockades come and go especially on matters of food. More so, some people use alternative routes and export.”

Uganda is one of Kenya’s biggest export markets, earning the country in the excess of $1b annually.  

However, whereas Kenya continues benefiting from Uganda’s open trade policies, blockades have cost Uganda more than 114,810 jobs, particularly in manufacturing and the agricultural value chain.

Competition
Earlier this month, Kenya and Uganda agreed to focus on industrial policy at regional level instead of engaging in “unnecessary and costly competition”,  the Finance  Ministry Permanent Secretary, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi said.

The move followed discussions, in which Mr Ggoobi had paid “a courtesy call” to his Kenyan counterpart, Dr Chris Kiptoo, the new Kenya Principal Secretary, National Treasury to discuss trade and non-tariff barriers.

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