State Minister for EAC Affairs, Julius Wandera Maganda, says Uganda’s growth in the East Africa region trade was majorly dominated by agricultural products such as coffee, maize, rice and cotton followed by manufactured goods.
“Manufactured goods such as cement, petroleum, sugar, confectionery, fats and oils, pharmaceuticals, steel and steel products, beer and sugar were also traded across the region,” said Maganda.
He revealed the figures during the ongoing NRM manifesto week at Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday where he also shared his ministry’s achievements, challenges and pending plans.
Even though Uganda took lead in trade within the region, even other countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda registered more than 13 per cent growth, while Burundi and South Sudan declined by 7.1 per cent and 18.5 respectively.
Maganda further elaborated that elimination of non-tariff barriers and increased intra-EAC trade in intermediate products like cold-rolled iron and clinker boosted the regions overall growth to $5.98 billion up from $5.47 billion in two years.
“The growth in intra-regional trade was attributed to favourable weather conditions over the year which increased production of agricultural commodities leading to higher exports that are traded among the partner states especially maize, dairy products and rice,” the report on EAC trade reads.
Nevertheless, EAC trade growth rate lags behind compared to the African average which stands at about 20 per cent per annum. This is blamed on similarity in goods produced in EAC such particularly agricultural and industrial products which are homogenous with little scope.