Uganda is making efforts to access the Nigerian market as part of its strategy to broaden its market base in Africa.
Nigeria, with its $1.2 trillion GDP and a population of over 200 million people, presents a significant economic opportunity for Uganda.
According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Uganda’s exports to Nigeria amounted to $3.46 million in 2020, while its imports from Nigeria were at a lower value of $678,000.
The primary exports from Uganda to Nigeria include agricultural products like tobacco, aluminum, fruits, hides and skins, among others.
During the recent Nigeria-Uganda Business and Investment Forum in Kampala, Ambassador Akinremi A.
Bolaji, the director of economic affairs, trade, and investment at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the importance of investment for poverty reduction and sustainable development.
He highlighted Nigeria’s industrial revolution plan aimed at accelerating industrial capacity building, as well as the adoption of technology to facilitate seamless business operations.
Bolaji expressed Nigeria’s recognition of the enormous economic benefits and potential trade and investment relations with Uganda and other partners.
Efforts have been made to create fiscal incentives and investment-friendly policies to encourage private capital flow into various sectors.
Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Francis Mwebesa acknowledged the low level of trade between Uganda and Nigeria and emphasized the need to promote intra-African trade.
He mentioned the measures taken to enhance trade within the region, including the introduction of an electronic single window system, establishment of one-stop border points, automation of customs procedures, elimination of non-tariff barriers, and expansion of market access opportunities through the East African Community.
Uganda is committed to improving the business environment and implementing liberal trade policies.
Mwebesa urged traders and investors to partner with the Ugandan business community in sectors such as agro-business, value addition, storage facilities, fish farming, renewable energy, mining, and oil and gas services.
Nelson Ocheger, the Uganda High Commissioner to Nigeria, addressed the transport and connectivity challenge between the two countries.
He announced that Uganda Airlines has obtained a license to operate passenger and cargo flights from Entebbe to Lagos and Abuja, eliminating the need for goods to be routed through Europe, Dubai, and Mombasa.
The direct flights are expected to facilitate trade, tourism, and investment by reducing travel time and business costs.
The current trade between Uganda and Nigeria stands at $4 million, with potential for significant growth.
Ocheger expressed Uganda’s openness to partnerships that promote trade between the two countries and emphasized the importance of leveraging such opportunities for mutual economic benefit.