By Melanie Nathan. December 10, 2014.
While the Ugandan Parliament is working hard to bring a new more vibrant Anti-gay bill into legislation, after the last Anti-Homosexuality Act was invalidated by the Courts on a technicality, the US Ambassador Scott H Delisi warns that it is scaring away United States investors who are considering doing business in Uganda.
“There is the issue of the anti-homosexuality legislation that was passed earlier this year and that was subsequently nullified by the Ugandan courts. This issue proved to be not only controversial, but it also undercut the nation’s economic growth.” Mr Delisi said while speaking to a trade delegation from the US at his residence in Kampala on Monday.
Delisi noted also that tourists are changing destinations, conferences being relocated, and coffee buyers moved away from the Ugandan brand due to the impending law.
Delisi added that even President Museveni himself has cautioned legislative leaders to think carefully about how to address “these difficult issues, lest their choices seriously undermine Uganda’s economy, trade prospects and international reputation”.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, seemed to tread an unusual middle road, obviously designed to accommodate the moment, saying :
“On homosexuality, we must find a middle ground. It should not worry you. We are going to sort it.” “If you have partnerships with our manufactures, we would be able to invest more… I want to assure you that Uganda is the best destination for investment,” Kyambadde added.
The leader of the delegation, Stephen Hayes, the president of the Corporate Council on Africa, said it is more difficult to do business in Uganda than Kenya and Rwanda due to the different policy environments.
In making these remarks the US Ambassador should also remind Ugandans of the myriad of human rights abuses that impact foreign investment, and perhaps should not be in a hurry to isolate only the anti-gay situation, which often causes a backlash from within. However this all does indeed need to be said and he said it.