About me.

Andrew M. Mwenda is the founding Managing Editor of The Independent, Uganda’s premier current affairs newsmagazine. One of Foreign Policy magazine 's top 100 Global Thinkers, TED Speaker and Foreign aid Critic

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bringing the state back in

Lessons for Uganda from the failure of Crane Bank and what should be done going forward

Last week’s central bank takeover of Uganda’s third largest bank, Crane Bank, was another step in our nation’s march to the absolute mastery of our economy by international capital. Crane follows a long list of locally owned banks that have gone under or been swallowed by others over the last 20 years, beginning with the International Credit Bank, then Greenland Bank, the Cooperative Bank, Uganda Commercial Bank and recently National Bank of Commerce.

Monday, October 24, 2016

France’s war against Rwanda

What the war between Paris and Kigali over Habyarimana’s death tells us about the two nations

Once again France and Rwanda are locking horns over who killed that nation’s former genocidal president, Juvenal Habyarimana. I have followed this debate for 15 years and every time it rears its ugly head I am intrigued by French arrogance in expressing power over a small, poor country. I am also comforted by Rwanda’s sense of its honour and dignity in the face of extreme provocation by a superpower. This shows that France has so much power but very little leadership.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Uganda’s stalled transformation

 Why Museveni has not transformed agricultural Uganda into an industrial economy and what can be done

President Yoweri Museveni’s stated objective is to transform Uganda from an agrarian to an industrial nation. He has been in power for 30 years, the period South Korea took to achieve that goal. Yet 80% of Ugandans still depend on agriculture for a livelihood; 68% as subsistence farmers. It seems realistic to blame Museveni for this as I used to do when I was still young and intelligent.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Africa and the myths of FDI

Why foreign direct investment is overrated and why Africa needs to cultivate local businesses

There is a fad in Africa. It is called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Across our vast continent, foreign investors are the most treasured visitors. Practically every country is obsessed with attracting them, often ignoring local investors. An African president will readily give audience to foreign investors where local investors take months or years to see him. FDI easily negotiates generous tax exemptions, government subsidies, etc. which local investors rarely get. And it gets other generous terms such as the right to 100% ownership of the enterprise and 100% profit repatriation.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Besigye’s coalition of the intolerant

While NRM is a corrupt government, FDC has evolved into an extremist antidemocratic party

Most commentary on politics in Africa tends to revolve around the analysis of the actions and motivations of incumbents in power. A narrative has consolidated: those in power in Africa seek power for selfish motives. Public service is never a part of their calculus. This is not an entirely wrong analysis. But it is an overly simplistic one. Public and private interests are not always mutually exclusive. The pursuit of private interests often forces politicians to articulate public objectives.