The COVID-19 impact on Ugandan supply chains: The importance of imports

  • Ugandan firms do not operate in isolation: Supply chains depend on the quick supply of goods and services as inputs for productive activities. Crucially, Uganda sources these inputs both domestically as well as from foreign firms.
  • This study first investigates the impact of COVID-19 at the outset of the pandemic on Uganda’s trade. Starting from the documented reduction of imports the study then investigates the impact of this supply-side shock on the Ugandan firm network using firm-to-firm transaction data.
  • The findings demonstrate the importance of imported inputs for the smooth operation of the Ugandan economy.
  • Further, a simulation of continued disruptions of imports to the degree found in the actual data suggests that such low levels of imports would lead to the closure of 6.6% of formal firms and a 4.7% reduction in formal employment.