Tanzania overtakes Kenya as Uganda’s largest imports source in EAC

Friday August 06 2021
Tan pix

The increase in Uganda’s imports from Tanzania has largely been attributed to gold

By Daily Monitor

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

Uganda’s imports from Tanzania have for the last three-months doubled, increasing by an average of 18 per cent.

During June, Uganda imported goods worth $125.12m (Shs444b) from Tanzania, indicating a 43 per cent surge from $70.07m in the same period last year.

However, this was a reduction from $149.38m and $125.91m that had, according to Bank of Uganda, been recorded during May and April, respectively.

However, the report indicates a wide trade imbalance between the two countries with Uganda exporting goods worth $10.07m during June. Exports during May and April stood at $8.78m and $9.34m,  respectively.

During the three months from April to June, Uganda’s imports from Kenya stood at $83.25m, $71.78m and $66.85m, respectively.


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

Imports from Rwanda during June, stood at just $0.14m, reducing from $0.24m and $0.32m during May and April, respectively.

During June imports from Burundi stood at $0.05m while DR Congo contributed $1.82m, which was a growth from May’s $1.72m and April’s $1.71m.

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

According to data from Uganda 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 as rice and wheat.

Uganda is, however, concerned by the increasing trade deficit that currently stands at $105.31m within EAC.

Of this, Tanzania accounts for the largest share, standing at $138.2m.

During the period, South Sudan and Kenya accounted for the largest export destinations in the region for Uganda’s exports, accounting for $51.5m and $48m, respectively.

Uganda’s export receipts within EAC have grown by 73 per cent from $67.31m in May last year to $116.56m, while imports have almost doubled, growing by 44 per cent from $153.95m to $221.87m over the same period.


Beyond the EAC market, Uganda’s export receipts increased by 6.7 per cent to $455.22m in May 2021 from $426.56m the previous month, attributed to higher receipts from bigger volumes of mainly non-coffee exports such as mineral products, electricity, tea and beans.

The Middle East has in the last one year become Uganda’s top destination for merchandise exports, accounting for 44 per  cent of total exports, while other major destinations were the EAC (25.6 per cent), the rest of Africa (13.64 percent) and the European Union (11.62 percent).

However, Uganda still traded at a deficit with all regions except for the Middle East, the report notes, citing the merchandise trade surplus with the Middle East, which grew by 3.2 per cent to $102.9m in May.                      

Uganda’s largest trade deficit, $258.57m, was with Asia, which represents a growth of 16.3 per cent compared with the previous month owing to increased imports from the region