The Minister for East African Community Affairs, who also doubles as the first Prime Minister of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga has applauded the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the East African Community (EAC), saying that Uganda’s commodities that have severally faced export ban from Kenya will have access to a bigger market.
On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, DRC officially joined the EAC Bloc, bring the total number of countries with in the bloc to 7, including Uganda, kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and now DRC.
The move has been described as a triumph as it will strengthen the block in terms of trade and security.
“It’s a big opportunity for Uganda. Instead of battling with Kenya over our sugar, we can go to Congo and sell our goods there, in a bigger market. Kenya’s market is about 50 million people, the one of Congo is about 90 million people. So, we have a bigger market there,” Kadaga said.
In July 2020, Kenya, banned sugar imports as a way to solve challenges facing its local sugar industry. Other products that have suffered the ban in the past include processed milk, poultry products among others.
However, in January 2021, Kenya lifted the ban and allowed to import 90,000 tonnes of sugar from Uganda after, Uganda through the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), clarified to Kenya that it had enough sugar both for domestic and export markets and denied importing sugar from outside the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
On April 12, 2021, a Kenyan delegation led by Amb. Johnson Weru, the Principal Secretary of State-Department for Trade and Enterprise Development met with Ugandan officials from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade led by the then Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Grace Adong to discuss the Kenya – Uganda sugar export crisis.