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Uganda mulls border export zones targeting regional markets

The Ugandan government is planning to construct border export zones with a view to improving regional markets which have become big consumers of Ugandan exports.

The border export zones will act as one-stop-markets where traders from neighbouring countries will pick the goods without going through a lot of bureaucracy.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Uganda Export Promotions Board will oversee the construction of the border export zones.

The Comesa support will be channeled through the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) - a European Union Development Fund that supports member states to implement regional integration programmes.

Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, said: “Border export zones will result in reduced cost of doing business. This project has very high potential to generate increased revenue for the country and the region.”

However, he said there is need for the project to find other means of sustaining itself when the RISM funding ends in December this year. Comesa has so far approved €3.9 million for Uganda.

In his submission, Mr Elly Twineyo, Uepb executive director, said: “At least 60 per cent of Uganda’s exports go to the regional markets Comesa inclusive. Most of the people who trade are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a fact we cannot afford to ignore.”
He said once the border export zones are implemented, they will serve as a one-stop shop with all essential amenities including warehouses, banks, hotels and food courts.”

“We believe these border export zones will increase Uganda’s exports into the region,” Mr Twineyo added.

Last year Uganda’s exports to Comesa stood at $1.2 billion to the EAC $771.6million according to the Ministry of Trade.


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