Uganda’s exports to Rwanda increase by 98 percent after border reopening

A truck at the Uganda-Rwanda border early this year.

Uganda’s exports to Rwanda have increased by about 98% six months after the border reopening.

According to Bank of Uganda statistics for the month of July, Uganda fetched $5.22 million (about Shs20 billion) in exports to Rwanda.

In July 2019, Uganda’s exports to Rwanda declined to $60,000 (Shs230m) when Rwanda closed its border with Uganda.

However, the increase is still below the revenue realized before the closure of the border.

In 2017 Uganda exported to Rwanda $182M worth of goods, against imports of about $16M. In 2018, exports grew to $406M.

Before the closure, Ugandan exports to Rwanda — predominantly cement and food — totaled more than $211m (Shs812b) in 2018, according to World Bank figures, while Rwanda exported $13m (Shs50b) worth of goods to Uganda.

Mr John Lwere, the exports executive at the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), called for caution.

“Until we go back to the level where we were before the stand-off, we have to be cautious about our expectations,” Lwere said.

He further added that the total recovery will also be subject to the effects of the factors brought about by the global economic trends.

Lwere said: “During the time of the staff-off, Rwanda was buying similar goods it used to get from Uganda from other destinations. So Uganda needs to look for ways of attracting buyers to comeback and buy from us.”

In the three months ending March 2022, data shows Uganda’s exports to Rwanda averaged Ush826.2 million ($220,000) monthly, a sharp drop from the Ush62.6 billion ($16.6 million) monthly average in 2019.

Trade plummeted in 2019, with the situation further exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.

Uganda is the second largest exporter to DR Congo after Rwanda. In January, trade between Uganda and DR Congo hit an all-time high, as new markets opened up.


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