Uganda ‘export more gold then coffee’

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Uganda’s mineral industry has enjoyed a spectacular surge in recent years and the East African state exported gold worth $514m (£390m) last year compared with $418m in 2017, according to the central bank.

Although Uganda is ranked as Africa’s number one coffee exporter, it turns out coffee earnings stood at only $436m, down 21% from the previous year.

For the first time, gold exports have overtaken coffee as the country’s top foreign exchange earner.

Compare this to a decade ago, when Uganda’s gold exports stood at under $10m.

But challenges remain.

The watchdog Global Witness criticised the Ugandan mining industry in 2017, describing it as “infested with corruption from bottom to top”.

Last month, reports say rights activists had accused at least one firm of buying gold smuggled across the border from Democratic Republic of Congo where the profits could be funding insecurity and rights violations.

To reassure potential investors, Uganda last year pledged to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Signatories join the global body on a voluntary basis.

 

Sammie Idika