Cost, time of doing business in Uganda reduces, says TradeMark Africa report

  • Uganda recorded US$97M in new trade between 2014/2016, as a result of reduced trade costs contributed to by TMA supported interventions
  • Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Customs modernization programme has contributed to the institutions increase in revenue collection by 48 per cent as of June 2015 with customs processing time reducing significantly by 30 per cent – from 120 hours to 84 hours.
  • Average time to test products by Uganda National Bureau of Standards has reduced from 19 days to 8 days – a 58 % drop
  • Cost of testing also recorded a 71 per cent drop from $350 – $100 

Kampala, November 4th, 2016: Aid for Trade organisation, TradeMark Africa, programmes in Uganda have contributed to inducing additional trade of US$97 Million since 2014, with US$ 50Million achieved in 2015/2016.  The elimination of non-tariff barriers, upgrading of customs systems and custom reforms, improvement of testing by National Bureau of Standards have significantly reduced the cost and time of doing business in Uganda, a newly released TradeMark Africa (TMA) independent evaluation report shows.

The report by consulting firm Market Share says the organisation is on track to achieving its target of reducing time it takes to transit a container through East Africas’ main transport corridors. TMA made the announcement during the launch of the Uganda Electronic Single Window in Kampala.

TMA aims to reduce by 15%, the time it takes to export or import a container from Mombasa to Kigali.   According to the report, the evaluated TMA Uganda programmes have so far contributed a 5.7 per cent (to the 15%) reduction in transit time of goods between Kampala and Mombasa. The independent evaluators stated that TMA Uganda programmes have significantly reduced trade costs and this has induced US$97M new trade between 2014/2016.

According to the report, the interventions at the Uganda Bureau of Standards have led to a reduction of the average time it takes to test selected products (19 days – 8 days) – 58 per cent drop with cost of testing products reducing by 71 % – (from $350 – $100). While elimination of key non-tariff barriers reduced the time Uganda takes to export goods to the region by up to 14 percent (35days to 30days). Elimination of Non Tarrif Barriers (NTBs) included support to adoption of a mobile-based application that allows for reporting and elimination of NTBs’ in real time.

Because of customs modernization, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has recorded an increase in revenue collection by 48 per cent as of June 2015 with customs processing time reducing significantly by 30 per cent – 120 hours to 84 hours. Indeed, in its 2015 report the URA indicated the increase in customs revenue from UGX2.9trillion in 2011 to UGX 4.3trillion in 2015.

Since the successful implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking system (ECTs), URA tracks an average of 15,000 transit shipments using the system annually. This has resulted to a 75 per cent reduction in transit time from 8 days to 2 days and truck owners reported savings of US$400-600 per truck daily, which is a cumulative total of US$38M annual savings on shipments to Uganda due to ECTs for the period under evaluation. URA implemented the ECT’s in 2014.

The evaluation findings has demonstrated how easy it is to do business in the country and is indeed a great step towards improving lives and businesses through trade. This underscores our fundamental commitment of advancing trade, improving economies. We are indebted to our investors including DFID and Denmark and hope that more partnerships in the near future will lead us to opening up Uganda to more trade,” noted Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer, TMA.

Moses Sabiiti, TMA Uganda Country Director added: “We would like to thank all the key partners that were supportive during the programme implementation – Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards among others. We call on other like-minded partners to join forces so as to improve regional integration and especially trade in the region which will unlock investment opportunities thus creating jobs.”

Demonstrating the linkage between programmes with public institutions like UNBS and URA, and local Ugandan citizens, TMA noted that its partnerships are across board and it has rendered support to organisations that translate important policies into actionable gains by the citizenry.

Towards this, support to Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) programme has led to a translation and creation of awareness of EAC maize standards in maize growing districts, so farmers can understand and apply them in order to access markets. SEATINI created awareness on EAC Maize standards to 21,000 farmers in Nakaseke District, central Uganda. An adherence to the standards and adoption of principles like drying, grading and sorting has led to the maize in this district attracting a 75 per cent price increase per kilogram, at the farm gate. SEATINI’s sensitization on maize standards includes sorting, harvesting, grading, proper drying methods.  Additionally, SEATINI developed a Sesame Standards No US11628:2016  which the World Trade Organisation approved and Uganda has adopted. This will improve the sesame for Ugandan and increase exports to regional and international markets due to better quality.


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.