Traditional crafts in Uganda

The government of Uganda is developing a plan to increase its exports to the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act in the next five years.

AGOA, a US trade legislation enacted in May 2000, was is meant to help sub-Saharan African countries export to the US more than 6,000 different products duty free.

The Act originally covered an eight-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but legislative amendments signed into law by former US president George Bush in July 2004 extended AGOA to 2015. The legislation was further extended to 2025.

Trade, Industry and Co-operatives Minister Amelia Kyambadde says the new plan aims to restructure Uganda’s AGOA business. The minister says much as Uganda has participated in AGOA, the country has no strategy to the extent that some players didn’t know who to work with or the quality and standards of goods to export.

Uganda currently lags behind its neighbours Kenya and Tanzania in exports to the US.

In 2017 Kenya’s exports were worth US$454 million, Tanzania’s were US$145 million, Uganda’s $108 million and Rwanda exported just US$66 million’s worth.

She hopes engaging SMEs will help the country realise over US$200 million per year.

Under the new strategy government wants to put emphasis on coffee, spices, crafts, and casein as the main preferences of the US market.

Since its inception in 2000, AGOA has given duty-free and quota-free access to the US market on around 6,000 products from qualifying sub-Saharan African countries – with textiles and apparel accounting for some 90% of total exports.

The trade pact was renewed for a further ten years in 2015, which means it is due to remain in place until 2025 – a decision that has given renewed impetus to sub-Saharan Africa as an apparel sourcing destination.