Uganda’s revenue from export processing zones hit a record high of $1.2 billion in 2020, up from $154 million the previous year, a new report has revealed.

The Uganda Free Zones Authority report shows that for two consecutive years, semi-processed gold has been the driving force behind exports, accounting for 93% of total export earnings at $1.1 billion.

Flower and horticulture exports ranked second, accounting for 3.7% of exports at $46 million. Tobacco ranks third, accounting for 3.1% of exports at $38 million, according to the report.

Wheat flour exports fell 65% to $1 million in 2020 from $4 million recorded in 2019.

Sandalwood essential oils earned the country $730,000 in 2020, up from $299,000 recorded in 2019, while cocoa bean exports brought in $160,000. Underground rock calcium phosphates brought in the least export revenue at $5,000.



Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, said the positive performance in 2020 was due to increased processing and export of minerals and tobacco.

“Simba Gold Refinery Limited, M/s Metal Testing and Smelting Limited and Aurnish Trading Limited were the top exporters in fiscal year 2020-21, accounting for 93% of all export revenue generated by free zones,” did he declare.

Other top exporters in 2020 include M/S Alliance One Tobacco Uganda, which grows and processes tobacco leaf in the Nilus Free Zone and exports through the port of Mombasa.

The report showed that the UAE remained the top export destination for free zones, with a significant increase to $1.16 billion in 2020 from $106.4 million the previous year, with most coming from trade in gold.

Exports to the United Arab Emirates accounted for 93% of total free zone trade. The Netherlands ranked second with a contribution of $39 million in 2020, mostly flower exports.

“The other top export destinations from free zones were Kenya ($19 million), Belgium ($6 million), Turkey ($2 million), Germany ($2 million), Italy ($2 million), the United States ($1.9 million), Russia ($1.5 million) and South Sudan $1.2 million,” he said. -he declares.

Uganda also exported to Indonesia, South Africa, Tunisia, South Korea, Ukraine, Japan, Hungary, Norway, Kuwait, Ghana and Poland.

Mr. Alinda noted that the free zone generated $32 million, with M/s Wagagai and M/s Rosebud Limited being the top flower exporters in 2020, with the two free zones collectively generating $20 million in export revenue .