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REVEALED: How India Is Making Trillions From Uganda

Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi will visit Uganda beginning tomorrow July24, 2018.

Ahead of his visit, Business Focus looks at the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries.

Firstly, India earns millions of dollars from her exports to Uganda.

According to latest figures released by Bank of Uganda (BoU), Uganda spent a total of US$5.036bn (Shs18.8 trillion) on imports in 2017, up from US$4.424bn (Shs16.5 trillion) in 2016.

According to the figures, India emerges the second beneficiary of this expenditure after China.

In 2017, Uganda imported goods worth US$599.04m (Shs2.2 trillion) from India, down from US$705.37  (Shs2.6 trillion) in 2016.

The report doesn’t reveal goods imported from India, but the main goods imported from the Asian country include medicaments, pharmaceuticals,  agricultural inputs such as insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products and electronic products among others.

It is worth noting that besides imports, India is perhaps the leading destination for Ugandans seeking healthcare abroad. This means that millions of dollars are spent under this category.

A number of Ugandans regardless of social status considers treatment abroad as the only life-saving alternative either due to disappointments in the local system or referral from the experts

The increasing numbers of patients seeking healthcare in India can also be attributed to efforts from organisations like the Indian Association of Uganda that sponsors children on an annual basis to have surgery at some of the best hospitals in India for heart surgery.

However, India isn’t among Uganda’s top export destinations. The East African country earns a few million dollars from her exports to India.

In 2017, Uganda earned a paltry US$43.69m (Shs163.1bn) in exports to India, slightly up from US$42.32m (Shs158bn) earned in 2016.

In total, Uganda earned US$3.339bn (Shs12.4 trillion) in exports in 2017, up from 2.921bn (Shs10.9 trillion).

It should be noted that in 1972, then Uganda President, Idi Amin, ordered the expulsion of Asians, giving them 90 days to leave the country.

At the time of the expulsion, there were approximately 80,000 Asians.

However, when President Yoweri Museveni captured power in 1986, he ordered for their return and some of the properties that had been confiscated and nationalized were returned to them

Today there are over 40,000 Indians living in Uganda and they  play a big role towards the country’s economy. They not only run some of the country’s top industries, but they are also into small and medium enterprises especially electronics and IT appliances.

Although they make less than 1% of Uganda’s population, Indians contribute greatly to the country’s tax revenue.



Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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