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Uganda’s exports to return to Rwanda

Uganda’s exports are slowly returning to Rwanda following the re-opening of the Rwanda-Uganda border in March last year.

Before the borders between the two countries were closed in February 2019, Uganda’s exports to Rwanda which were dominated by cement and assorted food stuffs stood at an annual average of $211million and a monthly average of $17million according to World Bank.

However, the exports had dropped to $60,000 by July 2019. Bank of Uganda indicates that exports to Rwanda increased from $44.9million to $60.55m during the forth quarter of 2022.
Data further indicates that exports which had stagnated to a monthly return of $1.73million between January and September 2022 increased to a monthly average of $20million between October and December.

Details published in the East African cross border bulletin by ‘Food security and Nutrition working group’ indicate that Rwandan breweries imported 3,991 tons of sorghum and 2,065 tons of maize from Uganda while 2,886 tones of rice were imported from Tanzania.

Small scale cross-border traders who dominated informal trade for long say they are yet to fully benefit. Previously, most of the informal trade at the ‘Gatuna’ border was in food stuff such as maize flour, rice, irish-potatoes, and beans.

Traders now say Rwanda authorities require permits and licenses for them to export to the country.

Other exports to Rwanda from Uganda include steel, roofing materials and personal care products.

Fred Muhumuza an economist and lecturer at Makerere university attributed the growth during the period to lower harvests in Rwanda that necessitated food imports.

Kampala City Traders Associations(KACITA) had previously sued Rwanda in the East African court of Justice for the unfair closure of the border with the court agreeing that Rwanda had violated some provisions of the East African treaty that allows free movement of people, goods and services across member states.

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