UGANDA EXPORTED MORE TO TANZANIA AND KENYA-UNBS
The East African Community region has become a major destination for
Ugandan exports despite Rwanda closing its borders that have affected Kabale and Kisoro districts according to Dr Ben Manyindo, Executive Director of UNBS.
Uganda in June exported more of her goods to the East African Community (EAC) than any other
region in the world, according to the latest Performance of the Economy Monthly Report released.
The report released by the Ministry of Finance shows that exports to the EAC region grew by 51.8
Percent from US$ 89.40 million in May 2016 to US$ 135.74 million in May 2017.
Exports to Tanzania and Kenya registered the largest increases of 114.5 percent and 111.2 percent respectively.
Most of these exports are manufactured products that require UNBS Distinctive Mark, thus
emphasizing the UNBS Distinctive Mark as a passport to regional markets and the need for
manufacturers to invest in quality and certification of their products.
On July 1st 2018, a new regulation came into force on use of UNBS Distinctive Mark, 2018.
The new regulation made it mandatory for products covered by compulsory standards to be certified and issued with a distinctive mark before they are allowed on the market.
As a result, UNBS witnessed an exponential increase in the number of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) seeking certification.
“We registered 1,339 MSMEs seeking certification. We also trained
847 and visited 619 MSMEs to build their capacity to apply standards and produce products that conform to standards thus contributing to the government’s export promotion strategy”, Manyindo said.
According to Bank of Uganda data, total exports to Kenya rose to $719 million by the end of December 2018 compared with the $551.06 million recorded in 2017 with maize grain topping the exports. In addition to maize, Uganda exported beans, simsim, pineapples, watermelons and eggs in the second half of 2018
Foodstuffs dominated Uganda’s exports to regional markets in 2018, with farmers enjoying improved yields due to favourable weather.
However, manufacturers faced weak demand for their products even as recent political developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan give hopes of stronger demand for industrial products this 2019.
According to Bank of Uganda data, total exports to Kenya rose to $719 million by the end of December 2018 compared with the $551.06 million recorded in 2017 with maize grain topping the exports.
In addition to maize, Uganda exported beans, simsim, pineapples, watermelons and eggs in the second half of 2018.
But exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo fell by 10 per cent to $450 million last year, a declined partly attributed to the prolonged Ebola epidemic and election uncertainty dating back to 2016.
Fresh conflicts, especially in eastern DRC — a traditional entry point for Ugandan products compounded the problems.
Total exports to South Sudan increased by five per cent to $405 million by close of December 2018, a trend partly attributed to slight increases in global oil prices and higher government spending in Africa’s youngest country.
The return of relative peace after signing of a pact and a symbolically significant handshake between political rivals President Salva Kiir and former vice president Dr Rieck Marchar helped reopen the market.
South Sudan relies on oil revenues to finance more than 90 per cent of its budget but current efforts aimed at diversifying its resource base are yet to yield significant results.
Exports to Rwanda increased from $180.8 million in 2017 to $212 million in 2018 while total exports to Burundi dropped from $42.94 million to $40.69 million over the same period.
However, it’s a different picture in 2019 after Rwanda government took a decision to close its borders with Uganda. Communities in Kigezi region have suffered most.
They used to export irish potatoes but closing the border has led to drop in prices with a sack going for shs 50,000.
Overall, maize exports grew from $95.91 million in 2017 to $106.81 million in 2018, while beans brought in $99 million up from $84 million during the same period.
Simsim exports rose from $17.3 million in 2017 to $26.6 million in 2018, the data shows.
“Uganda’s exports to South Sudan increased by about five per cent partly because of modest growth in oil revenues and higher government expenditure but the bulk of these exports were food items.
“Similarly, Uganda’s exports to Kenya increased to more than $700 million in 2018 due to huge volumes of maize and other cereals imported by Kenya,” said Dr Adam Mugume, BoU’s executive director for research.