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UK eyes commonwealth, doubles export credit for Uganda

Africa / 05-04-17 / by
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The UK has doubled its export credit for Uganda from £300mn to £600mn, as it embarks on a mission to restore trade relations with former colonies in the face of Brexit and its departure from the European Union.

The new finance support will be made available through the country’s export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF).

In a recent visit to Uganda, UK trade envoy Dolar Popat said the facilities will support Ugandan infrastructure projects by offering long-term finance from the UK government for UK expertise, goods and services.

Popat met with Ugandan trade minister Amelia Kyambadde to discuss ways of improving the trade between the two countries, which is reported to have fallen in recent years.

Top UK exports to Uganda include road vehicles, power generating machinery, medicinal and pharmaceutical products and general industrial machinery.

Uganda’s primary exports are agricultural products including coffee, tea, edible vegetables and flowers.

In March, commonwealth trade ministers agreed to deepen economic ties and trade integration with former colonies by harmonising regulations to a “transparent free and fair multilateral trading system”.

“This will support the target of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to US$1tn by 2020,” says the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

Critics say the move, which has been dubbed Empire 2.0, would see the same type of standardisation that frustrated eurosceptics about the EU.

Meanwhile, India let a trade investment treaty lapse just days ahead of UK finance minister Philip Hammond’s visit to the country earlier this week.

Free trade talks between India and the EU have stalled for more than a decade. Similarly, the UK has also tried to promote trade between India and the UK. But despite repeated visits by senior ministers, including one by Prime Minister Theresa May last year, bilateral trade has remained largely flat.

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