Uganda earns an annual average of $600 million (2.2 trillion shillings) from migrant workers from the Middle East, with the largest chunk coming from Saudi Arabia, The Monitor newspaper reported, citing Ministry of Gender Assistant Commissioner Employment Services Milton Turyasiima.

Of the total 84,966 migrant workers that left Uganda last year, at least 77,914 migrant workers went to Saudi Arabia, of which 55,643 were mainly housemaids.

Saudi Arabia has signed a bilateral trade agreement with Uganda, increasing the number.

The number of migrant workers leaving for Qatar stood at 3,549 while the UAE received 1,949 in 2022, the report stated.

Turyasiima said that Uganda has a bilateral agreement with the UAE, but it was not functional.

He added that the agreement with Jordan was suspended due to difficulty in long-distance monitoring between the supervising embassy as it was based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to the ministry, there has been a rapid surge in the number of Ugandans traveling to the Middle East, growing fourfold from an average of 24,086 between 2016 and 2021 to 84,966 in 2022.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )