Kenya Bows to Uganda's Demands in Trade Row

  • Uhuru and Museveni
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
  • Kenya has ceded to demands made by Uganda in a trade row that had threatened the bilateral relations between the two nations. 

    Uganda had demanded that Kenya allows more of its sugar imports although Nairobi was a little hesitant due to the pressure from local sugar stakeholders who have asked for the industry to be protected. 

    Kampala raised the stakes after they threatened to ban  Kenya's exportation of duty free fruit juices and pharmaceuticals.

    According to the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Johnson Weru, the Kenyan delegation has accepted Uganda’s invitation and will be heading to Kampala in April.

    “On sugar, we have sorted out the issues as Uganda notified us about and most likely there will be a government delegation going to Uganda to check a few things. We have been invited and we are now constituting ourselves to go. This was a mutual invitation,” the PS announced. 

    Sugarcane being transported on a tractor.
    Sugarcane being transported on a tractor.

    The deal will increase the amount of Uganda’s sugar exports to Kenya which is more than 11,000 metric tonnes per annum that were allocated by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

    The PS defended the move to agree on Uganda’s demand saying that Uganda is producing more sugar than it can consume further noting the export quota was allocated by COMESA.

    ‘’Uganda seems to have more sugar to export than the quota they have been allocated. But you see the quota is allocated by COMESA and not by Kenya,’’ Weru stated.

    The PS further noted that the two countries were members of a common market and so, it is common to exchange favors.

    ‘’During that meeting, we shall relax a bit of our sugar market in exchange of relation of our products that are facing the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in Uganda such as fruit juices. Those are the kind of things we are going to discuss on the part of Kenya,” he added. 

    The Principal Secretary indicated that Kenyan goods were facing export duties that are unreasonable and contestable so they had opted for exchange trade.

    Kenya imports about 350,000 tonnes of sugar from East Africa and COMESA due to scantiness in the local market.

    Johnson Weru
    Principal Secretary of Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development