By David Himbara
Before General Paul Kagame built his iron curtain between Rwanda and Uganda in 2019, there was a thriving trading relationship between the two countries. In the case of formal trade, Rwanda held 5.27 percent share of the Ugandan market, while Uganda’s share of the Rwandan market was 6.85 percent. The two-way trade between the two countries stood at US$273 million before Kagame’s iron curtain. The Rwanda-Uganda trade has now collapsed to zero.
The term “Iron Curtain” referred to the political and physical barrier erected by the former Soviet Union to seal itself off from open contact with the non-communist world. General Paul Kagame erected his own Iron Curtain in between Rwanda and Uganda in March 2019, stopping cross-border movements between the two countries. Kagame’s iron curtain was meant to punish Uganda for interference in Rwandan affairs.
New evidence shows that Kagame’s Iron Curtain works. Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) data shows that imports from Uganda collapsed to the tune of 99.3 percent in 2019/2020. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) confirms this – Ugandan exports to Rwanda collapsed to US$0.14 million in 2020. UBOS indicates Rwanda exports to Uganda was US$0.37 million.
Prior to Kagame’s iron curtain, Rwanda exported to Uganda over US$61 million of goods translating into Rwanda’s 5.27 percent share of the Ugandan market. Uganda’s exported to Rwanda US$212 million of goods translating into 6.85 percent share of the Rwandan market. The Rwanda-Uganda trade is no more, thanks to Kagame’s iron curtain. Stay tuned.