Uganda Trade, Import, Export


 For decades, Uganda has faced the brunt of devastating economic policies and political instability, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. However, the past few years have witnessed the implementation of reforms and rapid economic growth. In 2008, the country saw 12% growth, despite the regional instability and economic slump. 

Uganda Trade: Exports and Imports

With substantial natural resources, such as fertile soil and adequate rainfall, agriculture forms the most important economic sector of Uganda. The country also has sufficient copper, gold and (recently discovered) oil deposits. The agricultural sector employs more than 80% of the workforce. Coffee is the country’s principal export item.


Since 1986, the Ugandan government has utilized international support to rehabilitate the unstable economy. The implementation of currency reforms, increase of producer prices on crops meant for export and petroleum products, and improvement of civil service wages has greatly benefited the economy. All these policy changes were aimed at reducing the ill-effects of inflation, while boosting production and earnings on exports.


The 1990s saw reforms ushering in tremendous economic growth, based on infrastructural investment, better production and export incentives. Some other factors include the comparatively low inflation, improved domestic security and the return of Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs.


Uganda continues to grow rapidly despite the inconsistency in coffee prices. Although the global financial downturn negatively impacted the country’s exports, its GDP growth continues to remain relatively strong. The credit for this goes to the economic reforms enforced in the past and the efficient management of the slump period.


The countries that Uganda trades with are:



The total Uganda export volume for the year 2009 was $3.151 billion. The country ranks 121 in terms of total export volumes. According to the 2008 statistics, goods are primarily exported to:

  • Sudan 14.3%

  • Kenya 9.5%

  • Switzerland 9%

  • Rwanda 7.9%

  • UAE 7.4%

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo 7.3%

  • UK 6.9%

  • Netherlands 4.7%

  • Germany 4.4%


The export commodities are:

  • Coffee

  • fish and fish products

  • tea

  • cotton

  • flowers

  • horticultural products

  • gold



The total Ugandan import volume for the year 2009 was $4.106 billion. The country ranks 118 in terms of total import volumes. According to the 2008 data, Uganda’s import partners are:

  • UAE 11.4%

  • Kenya 11.3%

  • India 10.4%

  • China 8.1%

  • South Africa 6.7%

  • Japan 5.9% 


The imported goods include:

  • capital equipment

  • vehicles

  • petroleum

  • medical supplies

  • cereals