Barclays Bank Uganda has announced plans to send some of its business customers to developed countries early next year where, they will be able to link with fellow business counterparts to pay way for Uganda's exports to those countries.
Speaking to the bank's customers in Kampala on Nov. 15, Charles Ongwae, the bank's managing director said the move is intended to boost Uganda's exports to the foreign countries which would in the end lead to the country's economic growth.
The bank, through a cost sharing arrangement, has previously sponsored business trips for its customers to China, Indonesia and HongKong among other countries with the aim of boosting the growth of their businesses.
Ongwae said most of the participants in these trips have gained a lot. "They have been able to link with businesses in other countries and procured inputs, markets at a fair cost," he said.
Amelia Kyambadde, the Trade and Industry minister applauded the bank for the initiative, saying that was one way of contributing to Uganda's economic growth.
Uganda's GDP growth is expected to climb especially when oil revenues start to flow in the next few years.
Uganda's import bill has outstriped growth in exports, which has undermined the government's efforts to build an export-led economy. For instance, Uganda's export grew by 14 per cent between 2007 and 09 but relaxed to 8 per cent by 2011. However, imports have kept a steady growth, moving northwards by 16 per cent and 15 per cent respectively in corresponding periods.
Similarly, the trade deficit widened by 28 per cent between 2008 and 09 but contracted by a marginal 8 per cent between 2009 and 10.
Between 2010 and 2011 it grew by 24 per cent.