By Melanie Nathan, February 16, 2013.
While the Ugandan Parliament is about to debate the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, next week, Uganda will host a key energy and infrastructure summit at the same time, to explore private sector involvement.
Kelly Mactavish-Mundar, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Uganda, says the February 22 meeting will bring together service providers and financiers who should help build the broken down infrastructure through private sector involvement.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Uganda represents the collective interests of the U.S. business community in that country. How can Mactavish be silent on the Kill the Gays Bill that will require the reporting of homosexuals within 24 hours of finding out someone is gay, when so many American corporations openly support LGBTI diversity in the workplace.
One wonders what Mactavish has done to engage Ugandans, especially parliamentarians, on the pitfalls that will befall Uganda regarding investing in Uganda, should the Anti-Homosexuality Bill pass next week. It seems to me that too much focus has been placed on threats from the West to cut AID. Aid to uganda should not be cut for any reason, other than embezzlement and corruption, where it is not reaching the intended targets anyway. However investing in Uganda is another story, as commercial enterprises such as banks, hotels and all in energy sectors will find themselves subject to laws that make it impossible to operate in Uganda. Imagine risking employees and executive’s freedoms if they fail to report colleagues for being gay, as the law will require. Imagine operating or investing in a country that demands the death of gays by its law, while touting diversity policies that includes gays in the global arena.
The Ugandan News publication New Vision Reports:
“The chamber is hosting the summit. The discovery of commercially viable oil deposits and mineral deposits have seen Uganda’s reputation as an extractive industry hub slowly grow. The industry is also expected to create multiple supply value chains which will have huge spin offs for the country’s economy. Mactavish, also a private tour and travel operator, said Uganda is ready to cash in on its natural and human capital resource, especially the unique offering of tourism that is unmatched anywhere in the world. “This summit is timely in furthering the opportunities Uganda has. Let us embrace it,” Mactavish said, while announcing the summit.
Businessman Patrick Bitature will make the key note address at the conference. Susan Muhwezi, the head of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) mission in Uganda, said poor infrastructure is one of the factors that have curtailed local enterprises from fully exploiting the opportunities under AGOA. The summit, under the theme Investment Opportunities in Energy and Infrastructure in Uganda, is supported by Uganda Investment Authority and Sheraton Kampala Hotel.
Sheraton Hotel general manager Chris Pollard said the energy revolution has seen global hotel brands turn their focus to this part of the world following the knock on effect the sector has brought.
Key sectors that the Government and private sector will focus on will be power, renewable energy, infrastructure, oil and gas business.”
The American Chamber of Commerce in Uganda is one of 112 American Chambers of Commerce in 100 countries around the world. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce federation is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of all sizes and sectors worldwide.
I think it may be too late, but I would certainly like to hear what Kelly Mactavish has to say at this time about the Anti-gay Bill. I sent an email with this article and this note
“Dear Kelly Mactavish,
Kindly comment on the following article, for the record. Please note if you have not yet read the onerous measures contained in the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill, which President Obama described as “odious” I would be happy to provide you with a copy. Even if they take out the death penalty, the Bill is still unacceptable.” ……
Maybe a few emails expressing concern would be a plan. PLEASE be polite!
American Chamber of Commerce of Uganda
Plot No 94 William Street-NCR Building
P.O.Box 2109 Kampala,Uganda