Sweden Seeks More East Africa Trade

Sweden is looking to invest in East Africa’s mega infrastructure projects as the region plans joint rail and energy networks.

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance. [PICTURE: JOHN MULALA/STANDARD]

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance. [PICTURE: JOHN MULALA/STANDARD]

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg last week visited Kampala, Kigali and Nairobi, where he met ministers for finance, central bank governors and the private sector.

Discussions focused on challenges and opportunities in the region, but it is understood that the minister was exploring possibilities of Swedish investments in energy and infrastructure.

Mr Borg said his government is interested in investing in infrastructure, especially railways and electricity.

He singled out key elements of the region’s political and economic plans, such as Uganda’s Vision 2040 strategy and Kenya’s Vision 2030, as incentives for a deeper engagement.

In November 2010, Sweden launched the Swedish East African Chamber of Commerce (SEACC) to promote trade and investment between Sweden and East Africa.

Sweden’s exports to Uganda totalled $65 million in 2010, 0.04 per cent of total Swedish exports. During the first half of 2011, exports increased to 0.07 per cent, mainly due to increased sales of telecommunications equipment.

Swedish imports from Uganda, consisting mainly of tea and coffee, in 2010 amounted to $6 million.

Trade between Sweden and Kenya increased 310 per cent between 2003 and 2012, data from the SEACC shows. Kenya enjoys a more balanced trade with Sweden, with the latter’s exports to Kenya at $74 million in 2012, while Kenya exported $57 worth of merchandise.

Kenya exported mainly coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables in 2012.

Trade between Rwanda and Sweden remains low, with exports from Sweden to Rwanda amounting to $23 million and imports from Rwanda amounted to $1.5 million, primarily consisting of coffee.

– The EastAfrican