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Inside the Kenya-Uganda trade talks

Kenya agrees to buy Ugandan sugar

Meanwhile, Kenya has allowed importation of 90,000 metric tonnes of sugar from Uganda per annum, subject to findings of the ongoing verification exercise. However, no date was indicated on when the verification will be concluded.

In addition, Kenya has promised to share with Uganda the Food and Crop Standard Regulations to enable compliance by players in export trade between the two countries.

“The minister and the cabinet secretary agreed that their countries have built significant production capacity in some sectors and thus rendering their combined markets unable to take up all the production which sometimes results into emergence of Non-Tariff Barriers,” the communique said.

“They therefore agreed to work together to create markets beyond the East African Community and to make value chains longer through value addition and product diversity.”

Kenya has for a long time continued its ban on Ugandan milk products, poultry and LPG gas into its territory. Kenya has also continued to restrict entry of Ugandan maize and sugar imports into its territory on claim that it contain high aflatoxin levels and that that the sugar is not produced in Uganda.

Experts that have spoken to The Independent said Uganda’s growing economic power within the EAC could be causing jitters on the side of Kenya— EAC’s largest economy.

But Kenyan exports into Uganda have also increased from US$1.1bn in 2017 to US$1.2bn in 2018 and 2019, according Bank of Uganda and Uganda Export Promotion Board figures.

In 2018/2019 Uganda imports from Kenya amounted to US$711 million and exports were US$433 million. In 2019/2020 Uganda imports from Kenya amounted to US$730 million and exports were US$423million.

But Gideon Badagawa, Executive Director at the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, told The Independent that at least ‘there are some progress.”

“The fact that the authorities from both countries were able to sit, there’s a ray of hope that an amicable solution is near to be found,” he said on a phone interview. “How I wish, we could have similar engagements with Juba, South Sudan, as well as Rwanda where the boarder is remains closed.”

A fortnight ago, drivers destined for South Sudan parked their trucks at Elegu border town in Amuru district protest armed attacks on their colleagues. This followed shooting dead of four Ugandan drivers in Ganji Lanya County along the Yei-Juba road in South Sudan.

On the other hand, Rwanda closed all its border posts with Uganda – Katuna, Kagitumba, Mirama Hills and Cyanika – on Feb.27, 2019, accusing the latter of harbouring Rwandan dissidents, the accusations Uganda has denied.

This has seen revenues from exports to Rwanda, which consists mainly of cereals, fats, soaps, iron and steel and plastics, fall more than 13 times to US$12.24million for the FY 2019/20 as the closure of the borders hampered movement of goods and services.

Badagawa, however, noted that there’s need for each other country to carry out product verification if it deems fit to build trust.

“We need teams here to verify on milk, poultry but we also need teams here from Uganda to go to Kenya and try to see what is happening there as well. We need to have mutual trust across the divide and this goes for Tanzania as well especially on rice,” he said, adding that Tanzania exports huge volumes of rice in Uganda but does not allow export of Ugandan products into their territory including sugar.


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