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For the first time Uganda’s exports have surpassed its imports from East Africa’s biggest economy



Kenya’s enviable position as the kingpin of the East African market is under threat.
For the first time, Uganda’s exports have surpassed its imports from East Africa’s biggest economy.
According to trade data from Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), in the five months to May 2018, Kenya imported goods from Uganda worth Sh30.21 billion compared to exports of Sh26.08 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of Sh4.13 billion.
Uganda-Kenya Busia one border post (The Nile Explorer)

Marking the first-ever trade deficit that Kenya has recorded against Uganda, traditionally the largest buyer of Kenyan goods, since the central bank started making trade numbers public.
Poor weather as a result of a severe drought which ravaged parts of Kenya last year and which was further worsened by invasion of army worms which affected parts of Kenya’s bread basket region responsible for producing the country’s staple crop, maize, saw Kenya turn to ‘the pearl of Africa’ for increased maize imports than usual.
Data from Kenya Revenue Authority show that Uganda accounted for 70.36 per cent of the nearly 419,548 tonnes of kenya’s maize imports, an equivalent of about 4.66 million 90-kg bags, in the five months to May.

For the first time, Uganda’s exports have surpassed its imports from East Africa’s biggest economy. (capitalfm.)

And as a result, Kenya’s import bill from Uganda jumped nearly three times in the review period from Sh11.99 billion in the same period last year.
Exports to Uganda has also been falling marginally in recent years partly due to import substitution as more factories spring up in Kampala, cutting off supplies from Nairobi.
Imports/exports trade deficits have traditionally been a feature of Kenya’s foreign trade and not within the EAC market.
Kenya Revenue Authority head office in Nairobi (techweez.)

Since the inception of East Africa community in 1967, dissolved in 1977, and revived in 1999, Kenya has continued to dominate the EAC market until now.
As of December 2017, Kenya’s intra-EAC trade accounted for 34.8 per cent while Uganda and Tanzania accounted for 28.3 per cent and 19.4 per cent respectively.
The same cannot, however, be said about Kenya’s-China trade relations for instance.
The country exported goods worth Sh10 billion ($100,000) to China in 2016 but imported goods worth Sh337.4 billion ($3.374 billion) from the Asian country, indicating a trade deficit of a whooping Sh317.4 billion ($3.174 billion).