Francis Mwebesa, Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives
Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa has revealed that since the start of the EAC Customs Union in 2005, Uganda’s exports to Kenya have increased tremendously from US dollars 155.28million (UShs547.7bn) recorded in Financial 2005/06 to over US Dollars 617.34Million (UShs2.17 trillion) by 2020/21.
This represents a growth of 297.56%.
On the other hand, Uganda’s imports increased from US Dollars 422.76Million recorded in Financial Year 2005/06 to over US Dollars 848.26 Million by 2020/21.
Minister Mwebesa made the remarks on Wednesdayduring the opening of the Kenya – Uganda Agri Business symposium and exhibition.
The Minister added that Kenya and Uganda are strong economic partners where both depend on each and are strategic export markets.
For the average period 2018 to 2020, the Minister revealed Uganda major imports were mainly dominated by manufactured items of; flat rolled products of iron /non- alloy steel (USD 39.8Million), petroleum oils (USD 33.13Million), salts (USD 26.54Million), packaging materials (USD 20.93Million), medicines (USD 18Million) and sugar confectionaries (USD 16.32Million).
“Uganda exports to Kenya are mainly agro products that include mainly; tea (USD 79.19Million). Tea is in transit via the auction market in Mombasa, maize – USD 49.17Million, milk and cream – USD 55.95Million, plywood – USD 21.33Million, dried legumes – USD 37.67Million, animal feeds – USD 22.8Million and sugar – USD 26.6Million,” Mwebesa said.
He revealed that as much there’s a positive trade performance among Uganda and Kenya, notable challenges in terms of non-tariff barriers on trade have been recorded in recent years.
“Both Uganda and Kenya have reported several Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) that affect smooth flow of bilateral trade. There have been several efforts to address them, the latest being the Bilateral Ministerial Meeting held in April 2021,” Mwebesa said
During the ongoing Agri Business Symposium and exhibition, the Minister urged stakeholders to commit themselves to deliberate and achieve the following key priorities;
- Consolidate and promote Intra-Trade: Hon. Ministers, Cabinet Secretaries, it is imperative that we re-focus our efforts and commitment on enhancing Intra- Kenya Uganda trade by addressing the key bottlenecks to economic integration and industrialization among the two economies. As i noted earlier, Uganda’s main imports from Kenya are manufactured products while exports to Kenya are agro products. Improved trade facilitation from both sides is key in harnessing our economic ties.
- Infrastructure: infrastructure interconnectivity. Our Governments must go an extra mile in investing in border-to-border infrastructure interconnectivity e.g. ICT, energy, roads and rail as well as harnessing the inland waterways.
- Non-tariff barriers: We face significant Non-tariff barriers among ourselves, which are a hindrance to movement of goods and services; especially for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and small cross-border traders; commitment and deliberate efforts to resolve the Non-tariff barriers should form the basis of consolidating our trade and economic ties.