Several American investors have been discouraged from investing in Uganda, due to irrepressible levels of corruption, according to US ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac.
Positioned 151 on a ranking of 180 countries, Uganda is listed as the third most corrupt country in East Africa, behind Burundi and South Sudan, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index released this year by Transparency International.
Ambassador Malac said that Uganda needs to establish conditions that will better attract investment adding that money that is lost in the corruption chain could be used for building schools, improving healthcare, and fostering economic growth.
US companies expect a level playing field when it comes to business opportunities, but we hear stories of contracts being ignored and US companies that are cheated,” Malac said. She was speaking at celebrations to mark the 242nd Independence of the United States at her residence in Kololo, last evening.
She noted that reducing corruption is the first step that will cause Uganda to prosper.
“Competition for investment dollars is fierce in Africa. If the rules of the road are unclear or are ignored, or if decisions are delayed in the hopes of ‘facilitation’, legitimate, world-class companies will go elsewhere taking their job-creating opportunities with them.” she warned.
The ambassador made the remarks after noting prospects of the US – Uganda relationship boosting economic growth in both countries. One of the positive developments she mentioned was Uganda government’s April 2018 selection of the US-led Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium to develop, finance and operate the refinery.
“Our hope is that the revenue generated from Uganda’s oil and gas resources will help grow the economy and provide jobs for Ugandan citizens of all skill levels,” said Malac.
Another positive achievement cited by Malac is the recent visit by a US delegation to Uganda to sign a $107,000 (about Shs 408 million), training grant in support of US company Varian’s successful bid to supply world-class equipment to the Uganda Cancer Institute to treat cancer patients.
She said that these and more initiatives can only be seen and accomplished with better conditions that can attract investment. Responding to her statement on corruption, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said that the very fact that an American company had won a $4 million (about Shs 15 billion) refinery deal shows that the Americans can overpower the evil of corruption in Uganda.