What you need to know:
- Ms Kadaga said Ugandan traders have been having issues with neighbouring countries rejecting their products
The Minister for East African Community, also the first deputy prime minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has asked Ugandans to take advantage of the market provided by the DR Congo.
Addressing the media at her office in Kampala yesterday, Ms Kadaga said Ugandan traders have been having issues with neighbouring countries rejecting their products.
“I know Kenya has rejected our milk, maize, and other products and yet they have a market of about 30 million people. There is a chance to utilise the market of DRC which is actually bigger with about 90 million people. This is a big advantage to Ugandans,” Ms Kadaga said.
Figures from the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade indicate that Uganda exports to Congo by 2020 as of March 2022 was $267.19 million (about Shs953 billion) which, according to the same study is way below Congo’s exports to Uganda.
The main exports that the two countries have been dealing in include animal, vegetable fats and oils, beverages, spirits and vinegar, sugars and sugar confectionery, among others.
On Tuesday, all heads of state in the East African Community (EAC) allowed DRC to join them following the latter’s request in 2019.
On April 14, the president of DR Congo, Mr Felix Tshisekedi, is expected to sign the treaty of accession into EAC, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Common Markets for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), among other groups.
Ms Kadaga said Mr Tshisekedi is expected to complete the process of ratification of all the diplomatic treaties within six months which the secretary-general of the EAC will submit to the African Union for confirmation before they begin to attend meetings and join Parliament.
“This is very important for Uganda and all member states of the EAC because it will widen the market for all the member states since more than 90 million people have been added. When DR Congo assents to all the treaties, it means that it will have formal security operations where we can support each other in times of insurgencies like what is currently happening,” she said.
This comes after more than 13,000 people have fled DR Congo into Uganda due to the ongoing war in the country between rebel groups and the DR Congo army.
Yesterday, Ms Kadaga also announced that by 2023, EAC will be able to have one common currency, which will ease trade and improve the economies of the seven-member countries.
“Two weeks ago a team was sent out to tour all member countries to establish where the bank will be and they are expected to release findings which will guide our next course of action. But we have set a timeline for the common currency to become operational by 2023,” she said.