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Uganda’s trade with DRC highest in East Africa, at $53m

Uganda’s trade with DRC highest in East Africa, at $53m

DRC President is Félix Tshisekedi with Uganda’s president Yoweri Kaguta (Courtesy photo)

In a remarkable turn of events for Uganda’s economy, the latest data from the Ministry of Finance reveals a substantial trade surplus with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reaching an impressive $53.07 million in January. This figure marks the highest surplus recorded by Uganda with any East African Community (EAC) member state, signaling a significant economic shift in the region.

The report underscores Uganda’s burgeoning trade relations with its neighboring countries, showcasing notable export surpluses with South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi as well. South Sudan emerged as the second-highest recipient of Ugandan exports, followed by Rwanda and Burundi, further highlighting Uganda’s expanding trade footprint within the EAC.

However, the report also sheds light on persistent challenges, with Uganda grappling with trade deficits particularly with Tanzania and Kenya. The deficit with Tanzania stands at a substantial $88.41 million, while with Kenya, it amounts to $12.39 million, indicating areas for potential improvement in bilateral trade relations.

The performance analysis reveals a robust export growth to EAC partner states, totaling $231.47 million, with imports slightly trailing at $209.17 million. The EAC continues to dominate as the primary export destination for Uganda, capturing 37.6% of the total market share. This trend underscores the importance of intra-regional trade within the EAC bloc.

Despite the positive momentum within the EAC, challenges persist in other global markets, with Uganda facing trade deficits in Asia, the rest of Africa, and Europe. The deficits amount to $267.64 million, $118.15 million, and $6.64 million, respectively, highlighting areas where Uganda’s trade policies may require recalibration to enhance competitiveness in these markets.

Beyond regional dynamics, the report provides insights into Uganda’s export composition, with notable increases in earnings from commodities such as Simsim, tobacco, and cotton. However, coffee exports experienced a decline of 6.7%, attributed to weather-related disruptions affecting harvests and processing.

On the import front, Uganda’s reliance on Asian markets remains pronounced, with Asia contributing 41.2% of total imports, led by major players like China and India. This underscores the significance of Asian markets in Uganda’s import landscape and the need for diversification strategies to mitigate risks associated with overreliance on specific trading partners.

In summary, Uganda’s trade performance reflects a mixed picture of successes and challenges. While the country celebrates record trade surpluses with key partners like the DRC, addressing deficits with neighboring states and enhancing competitiveness in global markets remain paramount for sustaining economic growth and stability in the region.

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