Uganda’s Revealed Comparative Advantage in COMESA

  •  Miriam Katunze    
  •  Annette Kuteesa    


Most recently, Uganda increased its trade engagements with COMESA as demonstrated by its submission of accession instruments to COMESA Secretariat in order to access the Free Trade Area (FTA). It is envisaged that trade with COMESA can compensate for the low export demand elsewhere by enabling diversification of the export basket and facilitating value addition to traditional exports. It is also expected to enhance producer competitiveness and consumer welfare. Full exploitation of this requires information on where and in what commodities Uganda’s trade niche lies. This study assesses the country competiveness within COMESA based on the concept of Revealed Comparative advantage (RCA). The paper also evaluates the stability of Uganda’s RCA in COMESA from 1997-2014 using HS6-digit level export and re-exports data obtained from the World Integrated Trade System. Findings reveal that Uganda’s RCA is in all 16 industries at the product chapter level. It is stable in exports of animals, vegetables, food production, wood, textiles, & cloth, stone & glass and metals. Policies for further development of these sectors should aim at addressing sectoral challenges including the low productivity, marketing, and processing capacity in the animal sector, low capacity to test phytosanitary and sanitary certification in the vegetable sector. Additionally, tackling market and low production challenges for the textile sector and, high costs of production for the metals sector will further boost exports to the region.

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