PUBLISHED ON May 16th, 2024

Uganda, Kenya discuss solutions to trade barriers

Uganda and Kenya have agreed to remove all the tariff and non-tariff barriers that have been increasing the cost of trade in order to promote mutual economic growth.

This is according to the joint communique of the Second Session of Uganda-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Kampala that was issued by the host country’s foreign affairs ministry on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the convening of the 2nd session of JMC which had been scheduled to be held in 2021.

Over the weekend, the two-day session, at the Sheraton Hotel, kicked off on May 12, with the delegation of the Kenya being led by Dr. Musalia Mudavadi, the Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, while that of Uganda being led by Gen (rtd)  A.Jeje Odongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The communique issued on Tuesday evening (today) states that the two ministers identified the opportunities existing in their two countries that could be exploited for the socio-economic transformation of their respective citizens.

“They also identified the challenges that have affected the free flow of bilateral trade and agreed to resolve all the tariff and non-tariff barriers in order to promote mutual growth, development and prosperity. In this regard, they directed their technical officials to meet and consult regularly,” it said.

They welcomed the proposal to hold a joint technical committee meeting to address any trade and investment issues that may still be pending.


On June 6, 2023, the East African Community Partner States resolved non-tariff barriers that were a 25% excise duty imposed by Kenya on Ugandan table eggs and 25% Kenyan excise duty on onions, potatoes, potato crisps and chips from Uganda that became effective July 1, 2022.

The East African Community Partner States  also resolved an import ban and denial of market access by Kenya through non-issuance of import permits for powdered milk from Uganda as a means of cushioning the surplus production and low producer prices in Kenya.

They also observed that holding a JMS meeting closely followed by a State visit by President Yoweri Museveni to Nairobi is a testimony of the warm, cordial and brotherly relations between Kenya and Uganda, and that these relations are based on deep historical economic and socio-cultural ties that predate the independence of both countries.

The duo spearheaded the deliberations that focused on assessing the level of implementation of previous decisions, addressing any outstanding or emerging issues and exploring new areas of cooperation under three broad areas of foreign affairs and security sector, economic sector and socio-cultural sector.

“The ministers hailed the historic and cordial relations that exist between the two countries and underscored the need to continue working together to further deepen political, economic and socio-cultural ties,” the communique said.

Robust joint mechanism

The two ministers reiterated the need for both countries to establish a robust joint monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure expeditious and full implementation of decisions reached during the previous and present sessions of JMC and other bilateral and meetings.

Kenya is set to host the Third Session of the JMC in 2026 .

Recalling the strong bilateral ties of friendship that the two countries enjoy, they also reiterated their commitment to further deepen the relations between the countries by strengthening cooperation in the various sectors of the economies while ensuring regular consultations to solve any emerging issues.

International relations 

The ministers also exchanged views on regional, continental and global developments and reiterated continued efforts and sustained cooperation between the two countries in the multilateral forums.

Accordingly, they underscored the importance of regular consultations on matters of candidatures, environment and regional peace initiatives, among others.

Dr. Mudavadi congratulated Uganda on successfully holding the two summits of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and the G77+China and assuming their chairmanship in January 2024.

Uganda asserted its global presence at the NAM and G77+ China summits, which ran back-to-back at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Hotel in Kampala from January 15 to 22.

It was the first time Uganda was hosting a big number of world leaders at the same time and the summits saw it assume the NAM leadership for three years and the G77+China for one year.

NAM is the largest grouping of states worldwide after the UN while the G77+China is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in this universal global organization (UN).

As chair of the two organisations, Uganda, which is a key player and a power broker in the East African region, is expected to coordinate positions of member countries towards major international issues, with a view to strengthening their negotiating power vis-a-vis the developed countries.

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