Uganda launches Electronic Single Window, edges closer to paperless trade

Electronic Single Window Benefits:

  • Traders to enjoy at least a 30% reduction in time taken to lodge import and export documentation by eliminating need for physical presence/appearance and duplicate processes in the various trade agencies;
  • 30% reduction in transaction costs for the private sector including demurrage and administrative costs
  • Ultimately, reduce cost of doing businesses in Uganda and improve operating environment; and
  • Increase in Government revenue collection

Kampala, Uganda, November 4, 2016: The Uganda ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), in conjunction with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), has today launched the Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW), a paperless system that will simplify submission and processing of trade information for export and imports.

The system will contribute to the reduction in time taken to import to Uganda from Dar and Mombasa ports. Denmark funded the first phase of the UESW with a USD 5 million grant channelled through TradeMark Africa. The country taxman, Uganda Revenue Authority, will host the Uganda Electronic Single Window. Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde and the Danish  Ambassador to Uganda  H.E Morgens Pedersen officiated over the event.

The single window allows for electronic submission and processing of import, export and transit related trade documents thus enhancing clearance efficiency and reducing time taken to exit cargo. Given its benefits, the system provides the key to simplifying cross border trade through enhancing sharing and exchange of real time information between customs, other border agencies and private sector stakeholders.

Commenting prior to the event Moses Sabiiti, TMA Uganda Country Director expressed optimism that traders are the biggest gainers. They will now only “submit information and administrative requirements for imports and exports, once, at a single entry point and through the internet. There will no longer be need to physically lodge documents at the various government agencies. Just click and go. Imagine the time and cost savings that will result.”  Adoption of electronic documents will allow trade operators and border officials to better optimise physical and human resources while ensuring the safety of trade procedures. URA processes will become more transparent and predictable at the borders.

The electronic process will enhance efficiency at the borders and is expected to contribute to a 15% reduction in the time taken to import (or export) a container to Uganda from Mombasa Port. In her keynote speech, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde said, “we are moving towards creating a conducive environment for trade in Uganda by simplifying key trade processes, so investors can lower their costs of production. This system will not only ensure that we improve our ease of doing business, but it will increase transparency in various processes, consequently encouraging investors, whose businesses will contribute to creation of jobs for our youth. This is only the beginning.”

Highlighting the support from TradeMark Africa, the Country Director Moses Sabiiti said, “this system will not only reduce the number of physical appearances by import and export agencies before government trade representatives, but it will also contribute to reducing the time taken to exit borders. The single window has been based on the foundation of ASYCUDA world, URA’s customs system, which was funded by DFID. UESW will work in harmony with current and future URA customs systems.”

The first phase of the Electronic Single window has brought under one roof, key government agencies involved in the import and export process. They are: Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, National Drug Authority (NDA), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MoEMD), the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB).

Phase two of the single window has already received a funding of USD 5Million from Denmark and will commence implementation immediately.


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.