Tanzania overtakes Kenya as Uganda’s main source of imports into the EAC


By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Tanzania capped an eight-month increase in exports to Uganda in June, replacing Kenya as Uganda’s main source of imports into the East African Community (EAC), according to data from the Bank of Uganda.

Ugandan imports from Tanzania have doubled in the past three months, increasing on average by 18 percent.

In June, Uganda imported goods worth $ 125.12 million (Shs444b) from Tanzania, indicating a 43% increase from the $ 70.07 million in the same period in June. last year.

However, this was a reduction from the $ 149.38 million and $ 125.91 million that the Bank of Uganda said were recorded in May and April, respectively.

However, the report indicates a large trade imbalance between the two countries, with Uganda exporting goods worth $ 10.07 million in June. Exports in May and April were $ 8.78 million and $ 9.34 million, respectively.

During the three months of April to June, Ugandan imports from Kenya amounted to $ 83.25 million, $ 71.78 million and $ 66.85 million, respectively.


This put Tanzania ahead of Kenya as Uganda’s main source of imports into the EAC.

Imports from Rwanda in June were just $ 0.14 million, compared to $ 0.24 million and $ 0.32 million in May and April, respectively.

In June, imports from Burundi amounted to $ 0.05 million while DR Congo contributed $ 1.82 million, which is an increase from May’s 1.72 million and 1 , 71 million April.

Uganda imported goods worth $ 0.71 million from South Sudan, a reduction from $ 0.96 million and $ 0.79 million in May and April, respectively.

According to data from the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), major imports from Tanzania include gold, rice, trailers and semi-trailers, rolled iron and non-alloy steel, and dried and salted fish as well. than rice and wheat.

Uganda is, however, concerned about the growing trade deficit which currently stands at $ 105.31 million within the EAC.
Of this, Tanzania accounts for the largest share, amounting to $ 138.2 million.

During the period, South Sudan and Kenya were the region’s top export destinations for Uganda’s exports, accounting for $ 51.5 million and $ 48 million respectively.

Uganda’s export earnings within the EAC increased 73% from $ 67.31 million in May last year to $ 116.56 million, while imports nearly doubled , rising 44% from $ 153.95 million to $ 221.87 million in the same period.

Beyond the EAC market, Uganda’s export earnings increased 6.7% to $ 455.22 million in May 2021, from $ 426.56 million the previous month, attributed to higher revenues from larger volumes of exports mainly other than coffee, such as minerals, electricity, tea and beans.

The Middle East has over the past year become Uganda’s top destination for merchandise exports, accounting for 44 percent of total exports, while the other top destinations were EAC (25.6%), Rest of Africa (13.64 percent) and Union Europe (11.62 percent).

However, Uganda has consistently recorded a deficit with all regions except the Middle East, the report notes, citing the merchandise trade surplus with the Middle East, which rose 3.2% to $ 102.9 million in May.

Uganda’s largest trade deficit, $ 258.57 million, was in Asia, representing a 16.3% growth from the previous month due to increased imports from the region.


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