Gold Drives 27.7 Percent Growth in Export Earnings

Uganda’s exports have defied Covid-19 disruptions to grow in an environment that is characterised by slowed economic activity and business closures, according to Bank of Uganda.

Data from the Central Bank indicates that during the period between June 2020 and May 2021, exports earned Uganda Shs18 trillion ($5.1b) up from Shs13 trillion ($3.7bn) in the same period between 2019 and 2020.

The earnings represent a 27.7 per cent increase, which has helped the country to maintain a stable foreign exchange regime, especially against the dollar.

The performance has partly been sustained by continued growth in non-traditional exports such as gold.

Dr Fred Muhumuza, an economist and lecturer at Makerere University School of Economics, said yesterday that gold has been a major driver of the export numbers in the period under review.

During the period, gold earnings stood at $2.24b (Shs8 trillion), which was almost half of the $5.1b (Shs18 trillion) of total export earnings.

The figure grew from $1b (Shs3.6 trillion) in the same period between 2020 and 2019, in which the country had earned $3.9b (Shs14 trillion) in total export receipts.

Mr John Bosco Lwere, the Uganda Export Promotions Board export promotion executive, said gold earnings have lifted export receipts by about 127 per cent, noting this is likely to continue when trade normalises.

Besides gold, Mr Lwere said, other exports such as coffee, which is Uganda’s leading agricultural export commodity and flowers registered an increase in earnings with coffee receipts increasing to $496m (Shs1.7 trillion) up from $489m.

Tea, one of the other traditional exports, registered an increase in revenue, increasing to $84m up from $72m while flower exports earned $61m up from $51m.

However, fish and its products exports suffered a decline, dropping to $119m down from $148m.

Uganda exports much of its fish to European Union, which has been affected by lockdowns instituted in different member states.

Source Daily Monitor

Tanzania, Zimbabwe Are Uganda’s Main Gold Trade Partners

Unrefined gold imports from both Tanzania and Zimbabwe have pushed the two countries into becoming some of Uganda’s largest trade partners, according to data from Bank of Uganda. In June 2021, Zimbabwe was Uganda’s leading single source of imports, beating China and India. Imports from Zimbabwe surged to U.S.$170.8 million, which was higher than the U.S.$122 million and U.S.$100 million spent on goods imported from China and India, respectively.

Bank of Uganda Director for Communications, Charity Mugumya said that the surge had been a result of increased demand for unprocessed gold from Zimbabwe. According to data from the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database, in 2020, Uganda imported U.S.$203.57 million worth of gold in unwrought, semi-manufactured and powder form. Uganda also imports pearls, metals, raw tobacco, ferroalloys, nickel ore, diamonds and precious stones from Zimbabwe


R&B star Akon enters Congo mining sector in JV with state company

A company led by American-Senegalese R&B singer Akon has signed a deal to finance a copper and cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a joint venture with a state miner, according to a contract published by the mines ministry.

The Grammy-nominated singer, known for hit songs like “Don’t Matter” and “Smack That,” has launched a number of business and philanthropic ventures across Africa in recent years, including a $6 billion futuristic city in Senegal and a cryptocurrency called Akoin.

Akon’s foray into Congo’s mining sector comes through a U.S.- registered firm called White Waterfall LLC, of which he is the president and CEO, according to contracts published on the mines ministry website.

One of the contracts, dated Dec. 14 and signed by Akon, whose legal name is Aliaune Thiam, commits White Waterfall to paying a $2 million signing bonus and financing a feasibility study of the Kimono reserve in Haut Katanga province.

Congo is Africa’s top producer of copper and the world’s leading miner of cobalt, used in electric car batteries.

White Waterfall is a private equity fund that invests in mining companies that are not publicly traded, according to its website. The site does not list the company’s investors or any investments.

The company, Akon’s media team and the director general of state miner SODIMICO did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Reuters

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