World Bank Says Uganda May Close Commerce Deficit on More Trade

Uganda may close its trade deficit in five years if it removes barriers with its neighbors, the World Bank said.

East Africa’s third-biggest economy may earn an additional $2.5 billion in the region, which would offset a trade imbalance of $2.4 billion, the Uganda office of the Washington-based lender said today by e-mail from Kampala, the capital.

Uganda borders Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The nation earned $882 million from its exports to Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo last year, equaling the total official development assistance it got, the lender said.

The country, which is on a cusp of an oil boom, may grow 4.5 percent in the 12 months through June, from 3.4 percent a year earlier, the World Bank said.

More rapid diversification of the economy and prudent use of resources, including oil, will spur economic growth in the medium term to between 7 percent and 8 percent or more, the bank said.

London-based Tullow Oil Plc discovered commercially viable deposits in the East African country in 2006. The company is jointly developing the nation’s oilfields with China National Offshore Oil Corp. and France’s Total SA, which says significant production will start in 2017.

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