Uganda exported more goods to the Middle East than any other region for the year ended July, according to data from Bank of Uganda.
In a report published by the Central Bank for the seven-months ending July, export receipts were recorded at $2.5b (Shs9.1 trillion) with $779.8m (Shs2.8 trillion) of the total coming from the Middle East.
The bulk of Uganda’s exports to the region went to the United Arab Emirates which contributed $758.95m while Saudi Arabia contributed $2.78m. Exports to Israel, which the Central Bank categorizes under the Middle East region, earned Uganda $10.15m.
Middle East was followed by Comesa from which Uganda earned $708m (Shs2.5 trillion) in the period while the EU regarded as one of Uganda’s major traditional export destinations recorded $287.8m (Shs1 trillion).
Uganda’s export destination trends have been changing over time. The European Union and Comesa had for long been a leading destination before facing tough competition from the Middle East.
Growing gold exports, especially to the United Arab Emirates, could be the reason behind the changing trends.
During the period, export receipts from gold stood at $834m (Shs3 trillion), becoming Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner.
Mr. John Lwere, the Uganda Export Promotion Board trade and information executive, said yesterday: “Gold is responsible for the changing trends in exports leaning towards the Middle East,” noting that there has been some good research in the sector which could explain the growth.
The report also indicates that export receipts from the Comesa region stood at $340m (Shs1.2 trillion) in the period with the leading market being DR Congo.
Formal exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo fetched $140 million (Shs511b) while informal exports earned Uganda $200 million (Shs730b).
Uganda and DR Congo in July launched the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System, which Mr. Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA commissioner customs, said was important to facilitate regional trade.