Uganda - Foreign investment



A large number of Asian Ugandan companies were expropriated in 1972. A 1982 law provided for restoration of expropriated property to Asians who returned and for compensation to those who did not; a number of large Asian-owned enterprises resumed operations in 1986 as joint ventures, in which the government held 51% ownership. The United Kingdom group Mitchell Cotts also regained its nationalized property by participating in a similar joint venture. Further measures were taken in 1991 to recompense Asian Ugandans, and a new investment code designed to protect foreigners was issued in 1990. Ugandan law still allows for expropriation for public purposes, but investors are guaranteed compensation within 12 months. The Ugandan government has made attracting foreign investment a central part of its policy, and the Uganda Investment Authority has reported that the country has moved from 161 to 82 on a world ranking of average FDI per capita in the period 1990 to 2000. Most FDI inflows have come from expatriate Asians investing in repatriated property. Other investors are deterred by pervasive corruption. On Transparency International's 2002 listing of countries according to its Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Uganda was ninth from the bottom of 102 countries, scoring 2.1 on the 10-point index. Corruption infected the privatization process, which had greatly slowed in 2002 due to a lack of transparency, rampant asset stripping, and the failures of a number of negotiations.

From 1998 to 2001, the average annual inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) held rather steady at approximately $229 million a year, peaking in 2000 at $254.4 million.

Foreign investors include those from the United Kingdom, India, Kenya and South Africa. Foreign companies operating in Uganda in 2002 included Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Caltex, Sheraton, Starcom, Citibank, Xerox, Cargill, AES, Colgate Palmolive, Swift Global, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, GM, Ford, Ernst and Young, Price-Waterhouse-Coopers, Deloitte and Touche, and Caterpillar.

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