In Summary

Exports attribute the changing trends in the market destination to stringent requirements, Dorothy Nakaweesi writes.

Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Sudan, Rwanda and DR Congo, were Uganda’s leading export destinations in 2018.
According to Bank of Uganda records released in February, the country’s overall export earnings for the year ending 2018 were $3.6b (Shs13.2trillion) from the six-trading market blocs where the best individual countries originate.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) market bloc which comprises the four best individual countries, took the lead with export earnings worth $1.48b (Shs5.4 trillion).

In this trading bloc, neighbouring Kenya was the leading individual market destination for Uganda with goods worth $580m (Shs2.1 trillion).

Kenya was followed by South Sudan with market worth $355m (Shs1.2 trillion) a value that pushes the once leading export destination in the third position.

Rwanda and DR Congo followed in the fourth and fifth position, respectively, with export markets worth $212m (Shs773b) and $204m (Shs744b) respectively.

Middle East was the second leading trading market bloc where Uganda’s exported goods worth $599m (Shs2.1 trillion). To achieve this position, Middle East was boosted by export trade between Uganda and the UAE which is worth $563m (Shs2 trillion). This makes it the second leading individual country destination for Uganda’s goods.

Exports analysts’ whom Prosper magazine interacted with attribute the changing trends in the market destination to stringent requirements.

“We see more exports going to the Middle East and the Comesa region instead of the traditional European Union. This is because of these markets are less stringent and nearer to Uganda,” Mr John Lwere, the trade and information executive at Uganda Export Promotions Board observed.

UAE’s performance was particularly spectacular thanks to the increasing gold exports to that region.
“Most of the gold exports are destined to the UAE and all other products like, coffee, tea plus fruits and vegetables which are usually in small quantities,” Lwere said.

While Uganda’s exports which have seen the Comesa region lead are mainly manufactured consumables, hardware items such as cement and iron and steel, edible fats and cement, cosmetics, plastics used as packaging materials and confectionaries plus food items.

Other markets
In Asia, Hong Kong, India, China, Singapore and Indonesia are the leading individual export market destination contributing to the bloc’s revenue collection worth $252m (Shs919b).

The other market destinations include America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina with total export earnings worth $51m (Shs186bn).

Meanwhile, the value for informal exports also increased from $549m (Shs2 trillion) to $550m (Shs2.1trillion) in this period.
Most of the informal exports went to DR Congo, Kenya, Sudan and Rwanda.

According to the BoU report, European Union (EU) was ranked third leading export trading bloc for Uganda in this period.
The EU – once the leading destination, earned Uganda a total of $541m (Shs1.9 trillion), an amount less than what the country earned from an individual country UAE.

The key export commodities to the EU market are; coffee, cocoa, fish, fruits and vegetables and flowers (roses and cuttings), hides and skin, spices, plus cotton.