Rwanda has imported goods from Uganda worth Frw48 billion this year compared to the Frw30.6 billion last year, statistics from Rwanda Revenue Authority indicates.
This is an increase of about Frw18 billion. The goods imported from Uganda include meat, fish, milk, fruits, vegetables, bananas, cereals, tea, sugar, water (mineral and aerated) and spices.
Rwandans also imported building materials, petroleum products, fertilisers, pharmaceutical products, perfumes, cosmetics and assorted spare parts.
Other goods include, scholastic materials, jewellery, wood and wood products, textiles, domestic appliances, furniture and office ware.
Uganda’s ambassador to Rwanda Richard Kabonero attributed the growth in trade to improving bilateral relationship with Kigali.
Rwanda’s economic growth of 6 per cent is another factor responsible for the growth in trade.
“It is to our (Uganda’s) benefit that Rwanda’s economy was growing at 6 per cent. That implies spillover effects to neighbours.”
The Ugandan diplomat said they were looking at improving infrastructure especially roads and construction of railway lines that link up with Rwanda. He also said measures like joint border verification units to reduce delays of clearing goods are being undertaken.
Kabonero also announced Kampala was yet to initiate talks with Kigali for Air Uganda to start flights there. “Rwanda Air is full (booked to capacity) and yet there is a lot of traffic and cargo space. So, we want Air Uganda to start flights to Rwanda, which will further increase trade with our neighbour,” Kabonero said.
Rwanda to export services
Rwanda’s Justin Nsengiyimva, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce said Rwanda is strategizing to start exporting services to the entire East African Community countries.
“We feel we can do better in the service sector. Therefore our strategy is to export more of services than goods,” he said.
Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the Rwanda’s Education minister also collaborated Nsengiyimva’s position. “Since we are bilingual, we have an added advantage to penetrate the East African market,” the minister said.