Intra- Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) exports recorded a slight drop in value, partly due to the decline in oil prices and commodity prices since 2014.
Total intra-Comesa exports fell by 1.76 per cent to Shs29.2 trillion in 2017, down from Shs29.7 trillion recorded the previous year.
According to records, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Sudan took the lead in inter-Comesa exports out of all the 21 member countries after Tunisia and Sudan joined the bloc.
Egypt in the year ending, exported goods worth Shs5.6 trillion to mostly Comesa members.
Kenya followed with trade worth Shs5.3 trillion.
Uganda took the distant third position at Shs3.7 trillion.
Zambia and Sudan were in the fourth and fifth position with export trade worth Shs3.4 trillion and Shs2.9 trillion, respectively.
Ms Yvette Sylla, the chairperson of Comesa Council of minister, however, added that intra-Comesa exports recorded a negative.
The other factor associated with the decline in 2016 is the drought which affected most of the countries especially in eastern Africa.
Intra Comesa trade
Uganda is among the top five member countries that have contributed to the 81 per cent growth of intra-Comesa trade since the Free Trade Area started that started in 2000.
Latest records from the Comesa Secretariat, show that trade has risen to nearly $8 billion (Shs29.6 trillion) as of 2017, up from $1.5 billion (Shs5.5 trillion) recorded in 2000.
Ms Sylla said: “Comesa’s programmes and approaches to market integration, including the resolution of non-tariff barriers served as a benchmark for continental integration at a time when the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area was in advanced stages.”
Sylla attributed the growth in Intra-Comesa trade to the Free Trade Area which has opened up new opportunities in the bloc.
Intra-regional imports were worth Shs30 trillion up from Shs29.6 trillion earned the previous year.
This is indicated a 1.33 per cent increment in intra-import trade.
The same countries were again the first five leading intra-importers though occupying different position.
Data shows that Zambia imported more from Comesa member states and in the year ending 2017. This country imported goods worth Shs8 trillion.
Kenya came second when it imported goods worth Shs4 trillion, Sudan, Uganda and Egypt followed with imports worth Shs3.1 trillion, Shs2.5 trillion and Shs2 trillion, respectively.
The top most exported products in the Comesa region were copper, black tea, cobalt, live animals, sugar, meat and cement.
Mr Mwangi Gakunga, Comesa’s head of corporate communications, however, said these records do not comprise small scale informal trade, which is estimated at 40 per cent of total trade.