geopolitics or cultural wars,” he said. “We even also continue to encourage our American investors that there is money to be made in Africa. There’s money to be made in Uganda because of the market, because of the return on investment. We are not worried about these advisories.”
Despite a U.S. government advisory warning about risks posed by corruption and the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ugandan economists and officials remain confident in the country’s economy and believe it is still an attractive investment destination.
In recent years, Uganda has seen exponential growth in direct foreign investment, particularly from countries like the United Arab Emirates, China, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. These investments have contributed to Uganda’s economic development and growth. However, Corti Paul Lakuma, a senior research fellow, and head of the macroeconomics department at the Economic Policy Research Centre in Kampala, believes that the U.S. advisory is a disadvantage for Uganda as the country still wants to attract American investors.
While Uganda has received investments from other countries, Lakuma highlights that the United States remains the largest social and public investor in sectors like health and education. American investments often come with long-term repayment and return periods, making them unique and valuable. Therefore, Uganda cannot afford to disregard the importance of attracting American investors.
On the other hand, Morrison Rwakakamba, chairperson of the Uganda Investment Authority, argues that investors primarily follow money and are not deterred by geopolitical or cultural issues. He emphasizes that Uganda has taken steps to address corruption by implementing online mechanisms that enable direct contact between potential investors and Ugandan officials, reducing the role of middlemen who demand bribes.
Regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Uganda has faced criticism and political backlash for enacting what has been described as one of the harshest laws against the LGBTQ+ community in the world. Lakuma suggests that Uganda may need to reconsider the law, as the world is becoming more sensitive to issues of diversity and inclusivity. He believes that lawmakers should balance cultural and moral values with the changing world order.
In August, the World Bank expressed its concern about the Anti-Homosexuality Act, stating that it contradicts the bank’s values. As a result, the World Bank announced it would halt new loans to Uganda until measures are tested to prevent discrimination in the projects it finances.
Overall, while the U.S. advisory raises concerns about corruption and human rights issues in Uganda, the country’s economists and officials maintain confidence in its economy and its ability to attract investors. They believe that Uganda’s market and return on investment opportunities outweigh the risks highlighted in the advisory.