7 Things you should know about trade in Uganda

1. Global Shipment

Uganda, located in central east Africa, shipped US$1.68 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021 and this estimated dollar amount reflects a -42.1% reduction from $2.9 billion 5 years earlier in 2017.  The value of Ugandan exports has depreciated by -59.5% compared to the $4.15 billion for 2020.

2. Top Goods

Uganda’s 3 most valuable exported goods in 2021 were coffee, cocoa beans, and sugar. Combined, that trio of top Ugandan exports approached half (45%) of the African nation’s total exports by value.

3. Top Buyers

According to recent data, 87.2% of products exported from Uganda were bought by importers in: United Arab Emirates (44.5% of Uganda’s global total), Kenya (11.2%), South Sudan (8.6%), Democratic Republic of the Congo, (6.4%), Italy (3.3%), Tanzania (2.29%), Germany (2.26%), Sudan (2.17%), Netherlands (1.9%), Belgium (1.7%), Burundi (1.41%) and the United States of America (also 1.41%).

4. Top Destination

51.6% of Uganda’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 34.2% were sold to importers also in Africa. Uganda shipped another 12.6% worth of goods to Europe. While (1.6%) goes to North America, (0.1%) goes to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then (0.01%) to Australia and New Zealand in Oceania.

5. Top Exports

Uganda’s Top 10 exports accounted for 77.4% of the overall value of its global shipments and they include:

  • Coffee, tea, spices: US$650 million (38.7% of total exports)
  • Fish: $115 million (6.8%)
  • Cocoa: $99.5 million (5.9%)
  • Live trees, plants, and cut flowers: $82.8 million (4.9%)
  • Dairy, eggs, honey: $81.7 million (4.9%)
  • Sugar, sugar confectionery: $64.3 million (3.8%)
  • Oil seeds: $55.2 million (3.3%)
  • Vegetables: $52.7 million (3.1%)
  • Iron, steel: $50.3 million (3%)
  • Wood: $48.8 million (2.9%)

6. Top Surplus

Uganda’s product shipments that bring about trade surplus (that is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services) include:

  • Coffee, tea, spices: US$644 million (Up by 10.7% since 2020)
  • Fish: $110.9 million (Down by -1.6%)
  • Cocoa: $96.3 million (Up by 2.3%)
  • Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $81.5 million (Up by 53.1%)
  • Dairy, eggs, honey: $76.5 million (Up by 5.6%)
  • Wood: $46.3 million (Up by 2.3%)
  • Oil seeds: $40.3 million (Up by 20%)
  • Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $36.8 million (Up by 1.2%)
  • Vegetables: $23.5 million (Down by -30.8%)
  • Sugar, sugar confectionery: $20.8 million (Reversing a -$19.9 million deficit)

7. Top Deficit

Uganda’s product shipments that bring about a trade deficit (that is where foreign spending on home country Uganda’s goods trail Ugandan importer spending on foreign products) include:

  • Pharmaceuticals: -US$575.5 million (Up by 78% since 2020)
  • Vehicles: -$521.4 million (Up by 3.8%)
  • Machinery including computers: -$492.8 million (Down by -14.1%)
  • Electrical machinery, equipment: -$367.7 million (Down by -7.5%)
  • Cereals: -$317.6 million (Up by 96%)
  • Plastics, plastic articles: -$180.6 million (Down by -49.3%)
  • Other chemical goods: -$164.7 million (Down by -16.2%)
  • Aircraft, spacecraft: -$148.8 million (Up by 285.7%)
  • Salt, sulfur, stone, cement: -$129.4 million (Up by 147.7%)
  • Iron, steel: -$128 million (Down by -56.2%)

If you want to find out more about how you can pay suppliers or make cross-border payments;  please complete the form and we will have a payments expert reach out.


Research Sources:
The World Factbook Africa: Uganda.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product.


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