The World Bank urged landlocked Uganda to dismantle trade barriers with neighbors further inland to expand exports and accelerate economic development.
The East African nation could boost export earnings by $2.5 billion by eliminating non-tariff barriers and improving infrastructure for transporting goods in the region, the bank said in an e-mailed statement from Kampala, the capital.
Uganda is Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and it has commercially viable oil reserves being developed by London-based Tullow Oil Plc and partners Total SA and CNOOC, although production hasn’t begun after repeated delays.
It is a member of the five-nation East African Community, a trade bloc that once fully implemented by 2015 is meant to allow the free movement of goods, capital and people. The other members are Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
“Looking beyond the East African Community, Uganda must position herself as the land bridge to link other landlocked countries to the coastal economies,” Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye, the bank’s country manager in Uganda, said in the statement.
The economy has the potential to grow faster than the 4.5 percent expansion projected in the financial year through June, up from 3.4 percent a year earlier, the World Bank said.
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