Uganda has for the first time exported more goods to Kenya than it imported in the five months leading to May, mainly due to increased maize exports.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) put the value of goods Uganda exported at Shs1.1 trillion (Ksh30.21b) in the period to May compared with imports of Shs965b (Ksh26.08b), resulting in a trade deficit of Shs153b (Ksh4.13b).
Poor weather has seen Kenya increasingly rely on Uganda for its food needs, especially maize and groundnuts.
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-kilogramme bags, in the five months leading to May, according to data from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Maize exports to Kenya
Traders trucked in about 3.28 million bags of maize from Uganda during the period, KRA data submitted to the country’s parliament indicates.
Uganda, CBK data shows, accounted for 32.88 per cent of the Shs3.4 trillion (Ksh91.88b) that Kenya paid out to African countries for imports.
Uganda overtook South Africa as the largest seller of goods to Kenya in Africa in the review period with the latter’s invoice expanding to 17.07 per cent to nearly Shs1 trillion (Ksh28.37b) compared with a year earlier.
Exports to Uganda, traditionally the largest buyer of Kenyan goods, has been falling marginally in recent years partly due to import substitution as more factories spring up in Kampala, cutting off supplies from Nairobi.
Last year, imports from Kenya fell to Shs2.28 trillion (Ksh61.82b) from Shs2.3 trillion (Ksh62.17b) in 2016 and Shs2.5 trillion (Ksh68.41b) in 2015, data from the Central Bank of Kenya indicates.
Uganda has over the years cut back on its imports from Kenya with the country getting new markets such as Pakistan and Netherlands whose order book is largely made of cut flowers.