Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda is presently enjoying trade surplus with all her neighbours, according to the Bank of Uganda.
Trade surplus is the amount by which the value of a country’s exports exceeds the cost of its imports.
According to Adam Mugume, Bank of Uganda’s Executive Director for Research and Policy, Uganda’s regional trade surplus is due to improved agricultural productivity and stable macroeconomic conditions.
Figures from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development show that Uganda’s formal exports to neighbours is worth 1.1 billion dollars, up from 425 million dollars in 2007.
Citing Kenya, Mugume says for the period between January and October 2018 Uganda, for the first time in many years, exported more items to Kenya than she imported.
For the 12 months to October 2018, Uganda exported to Kenya goods worth 780 million dollars, nearly doubling imports which stood at over 400 million dollars.
Uganda’s major exports to Kenya include Coffee, tea, mate and spices, residues, wastes of food industry, animal fodder, cereals, dairy products, eggs, honey, edible products, edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers.
Other exports are mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, tobacco and manufactures tobacco substitutes, sugars and sugar confectionery, wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal, iron and steel.
In the case of Rwanda, figures from the United Nations COMTRADE database shows that in 2017 Uganda exports to Rwanda was 182 million dollars, against imports of about 16 million dollars.
Major Ugandan products to Rwanda are cereals, ceramics, raw hides and skins, edible vegetables, roots and tubers, machinery, coffee, tea, iron and steel, essential oils, cosmetics and milk.
Uganda’s exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo are now at 177 million dollars, against 2.5 million dollars in imports. The major exports are lime and cement, iron and steel, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Imports include oils, cosmetics, iron and steel.
Before war broke out in 2015, South Sudan had rose to become Uganda’s biggest trading partner. But 2017 figures show that Uganda’s exports to South Sudan were at 300 million dollars.
Uganda’s major export commodities to South Sudan are cereals, sugars and sugar confectionery, milling products, malt, starches, wheat, animal and vegetable fats and oils, equipment, beverages, spirits, vehicles, soaps, lubricants, furniture and fabricated buildings.
Of all the neighbours, Uganda trades the least with Tanzania. In 2017 Uganda’s exports to Tanzania was 50 million dollars.
When informal trade is factored in, the value of Uganda’s regional trade should be much higher.