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, April 1, 2019

Uganda’s strategic dilemma Part3


Why Uganda’s economy is dominated by multinational capital and what cannot be done about it
So we come to our third and last instalment on how post-1986 Uganda cultivated groups and interests hostile to local firms. First to be discredited were local banks, followed by locally owned construction firms. They were accused of doing “shoddy work” at a high price. New procurement laws requiring international competitive bidding effectively locked them out of key contracts.

The same fate befell local manufacturing firms. The old arguments of infant industry protection were labelled “corruption and favouritism.” Museveni could be heard saying it does not matter who produces a product; what matters is its quality and cost. But how could a young and small local construction or manufacturing firm fairly compete against big multinational firms?

Yet an indigenous/national/local/domestic business class did grow during this period; especially in trade and real estate. This was not by design. Multinational capital, with its footloose approach, is least interested in real estate as it ties down working capital. With trade and foreign exchange liberalisation, traders could fly to Dubai or China and import goods at low prices. This undermined local manufacturing.

Capitalism is at its core an ideology of greed: that everyone should go to the market and pursue that which is to their best monetary advantage. Hence as the ideology of money and riches as the supreme value took root, corruption became an attractive and large economic sector. Multinational firms lack social ties with local officials to negotiate bribes. So they began hiring local intermediaries as the bridge. There emerged a large class of what Marxists call compradors but whom we call commission agents – wheeler-dealers who make money connecting foreign firms to local politicians and bureaucrats.

Hence, the business groups that consolidated under this reform process i.e. the traders and compradors were those that have no interest in, and are hostile to local/domestic/national/indigenous capital in manufacturing and construction.

Traders make money by importing high quality products at low prices for the domestic market. So they are enemies of national/local/domestic/indigenous manufacturing firms. Commission agents make money by acting as agents of multinational construction firms to local power-holders. So they have a vested interest in continued reliance on multinational construction firms. These became the local business magnets. They contribute to NRM’s electoral campaigns and hence have the most effective local voice in policy-making circles – alongside donors.

The results are obvious today. Uganda is investing large sums in energy and transport infrastructure – railways, roads, bridges, airports, dams, transmission and distribution lines, water treatment plants etc. However, there are hardly any local firms winning tenders in these multi-billion dollar contracts. Why? They were either killed and/or stifled by reforms emphasising international competitive bidding over local ownership. Today, local construction firms, if they exist at all, lack political clout to influence public policy.

Local manufacturing firms are in the same boat. They are finding it difficult to supply Chinese firms that are winning these contracts for the same reason. On the face of it, locals look like they lack better quality steel at competitive prices. The real reason, however, is they lack political clout to influence public policy. So when Museveni complains that Uganda is a supermarket for foreign manufactures, he is unaware of how he has spent 33 years promoting policies that undermined local manufacturing.

This is not a moral judgement on the President. Rather it is to explain how the policies of the last 33 years effectively weakened, displaced and stifled the growth of local manufacturing and construction firms. And this did not happen to them just as businesses. Rather the biggest problem is that they were killed as a political force within the decision making structure. Instead the reforms gave economic and, therefore, political power to traders (importers) and commission agents (the comprador capitalists).

But this ensemble of forces is beginning to choke the country. For example, the failure to grow manufacturing has made it difficult for Uganda to close her trade deficit in absolute terms. While since 1991 Uganda’s exports have grown faster (at an annual average of 70%) than growth in her imports (at an annual average of 31%), Uganda’s trade deficit has reduced in relative terms but grown in absolute terms. This is contrary to East Asian countries like Taiwan, South Korea and now China whose growth was characterised by huge trade surpluses.

Consequently, the contradictions of Uganda’s growth trajectory are becoming increasingly manifest. For instance, as the country invests tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure, it is also losing a lot of foreign exchange through paying international contractors. At the beginning of every year, the shilling comes close to collapse as foreign firms repatriate profits. These contradictions are forcing a discussion on local content within policy-making circles. However, this is largely as an intellectual exercise. Without a strong vested local interest with a politically weighted voice backed by the correct ideology in decision-making circles, it is difficult to design and sustain the right policy responses.

Textbook theories tell us little about Uganda’s current situation. Rather, it is in understanding the specificity of Uganda’s reform process and interplay between politics, institutions and the economic policy-making that we can explain why our country is in the situation it is in now.

The reconstruction process in post 1986 Uganda was driven by local and international interests with a very definite ideological orientation. The policies they pursued empowered (both economically and politically) particular business groups and individuals (traders and commission agents). It also empowered civil servants, civil society actors, journalists and academics with a particular ideological bias. The process also weakened, displaced and/or stifled particular groups and individuals; most especially local manufacturing and construction firms.

The resultant political settlement imposes constraints on the ability of Museveni or his successor to successfully pursue a project promoting local content policies. The dominant business and political groups are hostile to local content laws. Equally, the ideology of key players in politics, the civil service, mass media, academia and civil society is hostile. No amount of altruism can change this. Only a change in the dominant ideology, accompanied by a change in the social groups that dominate political power and influence public policy can bring about a real change in Uganda’s economic direction.

****

9 comments:

cailloliasa said...

I just want to say a big thanks to ( CHIEF DR LUCKY ) for what he has done for me and my family by helping me to win lottery. I won Five Hundred and Thirty Three Million Us Dollars. (($533,000,000.00)). His lottery spell is the best and so amazing. My life is now balance and i am Now Very Rich As i have always wanted and i am out of doubt. Are you looking for a real and genuine spell caster to help you win big in any kind of lottery you play? you can contact Chief Dr Lucky , today all your plan to ever win Big in Lottery will Come True and work out well for you. His spell very real and genuine i can not still believe it And His spell also work very fast. Thank you so much chief Dr Lucky for dedicating your time to cast the Lottery spell for me. I got my bills paid and my debt cleared and am still mega rich. If you need a real And Genuine spell aster to help you Win lottery, kindly contact him for fast and urgent Help via email : chiefdrlucky@gmail.com or Whatsapp or Call Via +2348132777335
Website : http://chiefdrluckysolutionhome.website2.me/

Unknown said...

I want to use this opportunity I have to say a big thanks to Dr Ojabu for getting back my ex husband. I'm Lisa Campbell from England, after 7 years of marriage my husband left me for another woman I did whatever I could to get him back but all I did was in vain I was sad, but I didn't lose hope of getting him back because I had faith in God. So I search online on how to get my husband back, and I came across a post of Dr Ojabu of how he helped a lady to get back her ex, I contacted him and told him the pain I was going through, he told me what to do and I did it, then he casted a love spell for me 48 hours later my husband called me and told me he is sorry for what he did and that he misses me very much, later that day he came back home and beg for my forgiveness, since then our love grew stronger. For the marvelous things Dr Ojabu has done for me it would be unfair for me not to let the whole world know that such a powerful spell caster do live. If you want to get back your ex fast email Dr Ojabu at drojabusolutiontemple@gmail.com or add him up on WhatsApp +2348039177826...

petermarcus said...


TESTIMONY ON HOW I BECAME INSTANT MILLIONAIRE WITH THE HELP OF ILLUMINATI Hello viewers, i want to use this opportunity to thank Jude Morgan who finally helped me to become a full member of the Great Illuminati Brotherhood and now i am living my life in happiness. I was once indigent and lived my life in extreme poverty, the standard of living became so poor and low that I even thought of killing myself, I was deeply strangled up by poverty and I had no body to help me, to eat was a problem to me and my family. Until I met with a great generous illuminate man by name Jude Morgan who told me there would be no need for me to die and he introduced me into realm of riches and fame. He told me to get my membership form which i did, and he told me to get ready for my initiation day and that all new members will be given a certain reward of $100,000 USD cash on my initiation day, i was so happy. so i was initiated to the Illuminati world and few days later i was awarded a contract worth of millions of Dollars, in my business i am doing very well right now, I used just 100 dollar to get this beg amount of money and I did exactly what i was ask to do and today the story has change, i have up to $800,000000 USD in my bank account, I am a living testimony, my dream and all the wealth, fame, success and riches, i have ever desired is been made a reality. All the same thanks Jude Morgan who made my dreams a reality by helping me become a member of the great illuminate. Hurry up now and call our help desk and also be a happy man like me because we are not getting any younger. Opportunity for you today, do not hesitate, once again this is our help desk contact=:illuminatihome78gmail.com Thanks for reading my comment WhatsApp number (+2348100649947)

lucas said...

Hello everyone. I was heartbroken because i had very small penis, not nice to satisfy a woman, i had so many relationship called off because of my situation, i have used so many product which i found online but none could offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments about this doctor called Dr Udi and I decided to email him on: drudiherbalhome@gmail.com so decided to give his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me, he gave me some comforting words with his herbal cream for Penis Enlargement, Within 1 week of it, i began to feel the enlargement of my penis, " and now it just 2 weeks of using his products my penis is about 9 inches longer and strong. I'm so happy..feel free to contact Dr Udi on his Email: drudiherbalhome@gmail.com or you can call or what-app him +238051243538 or you can check out his website
https://drudiblogaddress.blogspot.com/
https://drudiherba.home.blog:

janaz said...


I was searching for loan to sort out my bills& debts, then i saw comments about Blank ATM Credit Card that can be hacked to withdraw money from any ATM machines around you . I doubted thus but decided to give it a try by contacting {nashwilliams4@gmail.com} they responded with their guidelines on how the card works. I was assured that the card can withdraw $5,000 instant per day & was credited with$50,000,000.00 so i requested for one & paid the delivery fee to obtain the card, after 24 hours later, i was shock to see the UPS agent in my resident with a parcel{card} i signed and went back inside and confirmed the card work's after the agent left. This is no doubts because i have the card & has made used of the card. This hackers are set to help people with financial freedom!! Contact these email if you wants to get rich with this Via: nashwilliams4@gmail.com or WhatsApp Via+2349057353987

Ahmed Ashid said...

How can i ever stop saying thank you to Dr Movo, After taking his product today my sexual life is health and balance am living up to my wife expectation. For the past 11 years i have been struggling with weak erection and premature ejaculation. I have spend money on it but no cure until i took this product from Dr Movo just within few days i got cured. for his products contact him email drmovo.supernaturalherbalmedic@gmail.com or WhatsApp/Call +2347061865209.

Mason willy said...

HOW I EARN $15,000 to $20,000 DOLLARS IN BITCOIN INVESTMENT EVERY WEEK.

My name is MASON WILLIAMS and here to share a real life testimony on how i earn $15,000 TO 20,000 Dollars every 7 days. all thanks to Roger kver For introducing me to Bitcoin trading. i was working in a restaurant in orlando FL where i normally earn $300 weekly and that was not enough for me to eat good meal and take good care of my self and my family. until one day i was searching the internet on a good business to invest in. then i meet investor Roger Kver a bitcoin investor who introduced me to bitcoin trading at first i was skepitical but i decided to give it a try so i saved up to $1000 and invested am so happy now because i have gained alot and now i earn $15,000 to $20,000 every week all thanks to a very good friend of my Roger kver. you can also contact him today if you are looking for a real and genuine investor at his private email Rogerver60@gmail.com or you can Dm him on Instagram @ Investor_kver or whatsapp him via +1(321)754-0649 . contact him today and earn good and extra income weekly 100% guarantee.

Mason willy said...

HOW I EARN $15,000 to $20,000 DOLLARS IN BITCOIN INVESTMENT EVERY WEEK.

My name is MASON WILLIAMS and here to share a real life testimony on how i earn $15,000 TO 20,000 Dollars every 7 days. all thanks to Roger kver For introducing me to Bitcoin trading. i was working in a restaurant in orlando FL where i normally earn $300 weekly and that was not enough for me to eat good meal and take good care of my self and my family. until one day i was searching the internet on a good business to invest in. then i meet investor Roger Kver a bitcoin investor who introduced me to bitcoin trading at first i was skepitical but i decided to give it a try so i saved up to $1000 and invested am so happy now because i have gained alot and now i earn $15,000 to $20,000 every week all thanks to a very good friend of my Roger kver. you can also contact him today if you are looking for a real and genuine investor at his private email Rogerver60@gmail.com or you can Dm him on Instagram @ Investor_kver or whatsapp him via +1(321)754-0649 . contact him today and earn good and extra income weekly 100% guarantee.

Unknown said...

Please visit (http://dradodalovetemple.com) and also contact Dr.Adoda if you need a powerful love spell to fix your broken relationship..... I got a divorce from my husband when I was six months pregnant with my second child. We had been arguing and quarreling nonstop since the day our first child was conceived, no love nor trust from him anymore so he divorced me. And all these whiles, I have been trying all different means to get him back, I also tried some different spell casters here in the United States, but none of them could bring ( EDGARDO) back to me. It was only Dr.Adoda who guaranteed me an urgent 48 hours spell casting, and he assure me that my husband will be with me again. I am writing to offer my thanks and deep gratitude to you for keeping your promises and also save my marriage, and for using your gifted and great powers to bring (EDGARDO) my husband back home. I was thrilled to know that you are specialized in reuniting Lovers. Thank you Sir, for helping me through the worst times of my life, for being such a great spell caster, and for giving me a love spell that has brought me so much joy in my marriage. My husband is back and promise never to leave me again. If you doubt his ability, trust me. You should take a chance. It pays off in ways you could never even imagine. If you are their right now and you need a powerful and urgent love spell to bring back your ex kindly contact Dr.Adoda right now he is the only answer to restore your broken relationship or marriage. email (adodalovespelltemple440@gmail.com) or What-App his call phone number on +2348112825421.