The Geneva-based International Trade Centre, or ITC, and the Uganda Export Promotion Board have launched a market analysis site on the internet. It aims to boost Kampala’s exports and reduce a trade deficit of over a billion dollars per year.
The market analysis web site provides a variety of information to exporters including where to find markets for their products, a list of their competitors, unit prices and potential import barriers. The site is divided into two main parts -- one containing data on various products on international markets and their suppliers, and another offering detailed product information such as design for apparel. The Geneva-based International Trade Centre, or ITC, and the Uganda export promotion board have launched a market analysis site on the internet. It aims to boost Kampala’s exports and reduce a trade deficit of over a billion dollars per year.
A high ranking market analyst for the ITC the new web site will help Ugandan exporters learn more about how to market their products – by helping them learn about competitors, prices, and potential clients. ITC analyst Friedrich von Kirchbach says the web site, called "Trade Map", will help Kampala fully exploit American and European markets for its exports under the US Africa growth and opportunity act (AGOA) and European Union’s "Everything but Arms" initiative.
Mr. Von Kirchbach says: “Trade Map can help countries see exactly what the Americans are importing, against whom will they be competing from other countries, what the trends are, what the prices and unit values are, what the trade barriers are, so it is something which can help in the process of converting the potential of AGOA into actual business transactions."
The market analysis website provides a variety of information to exporters including where to find markets for their products, their competitors, unit prices and potential import barriers. The site is divided into two main parts, one containing data on various products on international markets and their suppliers, and another offering detailed information such as desgin for apparel.
Mr. Von Kirchbach attended the official launching of the Uganda export promotion board’s market analysis web site last week. He called it a major breakthrough that would help rectify the country’s trade imbalance. Uganda imports one and a half billion dollars worth of goods per year – but exports less than half that amount.
The ITC chief market analyst underlined the importance of the web site to promote exports and to bring in hard currency needed to finance development projects. He said, "We’ve just launched the Uganda trade map in Kampala last week and you know the important point is that, I think is that Uganda is one of the many countries in Africa that needs to pull up its socks to really become more competitive in foreign trade." He added that, more specifically, "Uganda’s exports are not even half a billion dollars, its imports $1.5bn, its trade deficit a billion dollars. The export orientation of Uganda is not very high in the sense that exports per capita are not only some $200. The net exports of non-processed food is less than $20, the net export, and so for the country to finance its development and to participate more in the opportunities of globalization, it is essential to go for a more aggressive, more systematic export drive. And one of the ingredients there is for companies to have a better understanding of their demand in traditional and non-traditional partner countries for traditional and non traditional export products."
Uganda is one of Sub-Sahara Africa’s more successful economies – with a yearly growth rate of about six percent. The investment climate is friendly and is already attracting foreign direct investment and donor aid. The country’s exporters however need to do a lot if the one billion trade deficit is to be erased. The ITC web site is a modern technological tool that the government believes will help exporters better understand the nature of world markets for Uganda’s leading export, coffee, and for minerals.
Uganda joins Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa as frontrunners in adopting the new technology which was developed two years ago by the International Trade Center. There are only 13 countries in the world – and five in Africa -- that are using the trade map web sites.
The ITC hopes that the new technology will help African countries cut overhead costs associated with complicated export trade promotion programmes.