Identifying Uganda’s export potential

2 May 2018
ITC News
What are the products that can help boost Ugandan exports?

Famous for its magnificent wildlife, delicious bananas, pineapples and avocados. and home to the endangered mountain gorillas, Uganda has a lot to offer. It is world’s biggest exporter of Nile perch, the second biggest exporter of goat hides and skins, and comes third in exports of laminated bamboo wood exports.

However, Uganda is also one the world’s poorest countries, with a GDP per capita of $1,819. Regional as well as global trade can help increase inclusive and sustainable growth. Where lie the opportunities for Uganda and how can the country take full advantage of them?

Coffee, cocoa beans, cement and solid cane or beet sugar were Uganda’s most exported products in 2016. In 2016 alone, the country exported a little less than $2.5 billion worth of products, with its main destination market being Kenya ($404m), the United Arab Emirates ($372m) and South Sudan ($240m) and a stagnating growth. In 2016, Uganda’s negative trade balance stood at $2.35 billion, which is an improvement from 2012 when its negative balance was $3.7 billion.

Moreover, ITC data suggest that Uganda has a big, unexplored export potential, estimated at $1.1 billion. According to Export Potential Map, products the East African country could take advantage of include coffee ($163m), cocoa beans ($82m) and cane or beat sugar ($64.9m). Diversification opportunities are also found in jute, cashew nuts and legumes.

Uganda is part of the East African Community (EAC), together with Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania, which is in the process of implementing the East African Customs Union. This could help boost exports of goods across the EAC countries, which are already among top importers of Ugandan goods. In fact, $207.2m of Uganda’s untapped export potential can be found in the region and even $261.5m of unexplored export potential is found across East Africa.

Learn more about Uganda’s export potential.

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