Libya to maintain investments, wants diplomatic protection

The Libyan Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Fawzi Bouketf, speaks at the opening of the new embassy in Kampala on Monday. He said Libya wants diplomatic protection on its investments in the country. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA

What you need to know:

Investments. North African country has invested nearly $400 million (about Shs1.1 trillion) over the years

Kampala. The Libyan government will maintain its investments in Uganda while at the same time revitalise those that are struggling, the Libyan Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Fawzi Bouketf, has said.
Speaking in an interview on Monday ahead of opening a new embassy in Kampala, Mr Bouketf said Libya needs diplomatic protection for all its business interests here.
He however added that it should not be interpreted to mean they disregard the judicial process of the country.
Over the years, Libya has invested nearly $400 million (about 1.1trillion) in Uganda through its multi-billion dollar investment arm, the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio, making Uganda her biggest foreign investment hub in Africa.

Shs143 billion investments
In the last four-years alone, after the revolution that swept some North African countries, another $50 million (about Shs143 billion) was injected into several investment portfolios which Mr Bouketf said demonstrates Libya’s commitment in keeping its investments in Uganda.
Under Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, Libya invested heavily in sectors such as agriculture, telecommunications, hotels, health, construction, and finance, something the North African country is keen to maintain, provided they are assured of diplomatic protection.
According to Mr Bouketf, the investments have been largely successful save for a few that are yet to recover.
He said this is partly due to the war and the protracted legal battles resulting from the interpretations of clauses which they are not supposed to be party to.
Before the revolution ended Col Gaddafi’s four decades rule, Libyan-supported companies such as the National Housing Corporation, Uganda telecom (UTL), Soluble Coffee Plant, Tropical Bank, House of Dawda, Uganda Pharmaceuticals, Lake Victoria Hotel Entebbe and Tamoil were all doing well in terms of business.
In response, the permanent secretary, ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr James Mugume, said the Ugandan government has not been briefed on issues.
He said: “They can raise a note and we will look into it.”

About diplomatic protection and who is entitled
Diplomatic protection plays a key role in protecting the rights of nationals abroad. Particularly in view of the lack of universally applicable complaint mechanisms for either human rights violations or investment disputes, according to an online research tool.
With diplomatic protection, investments could be shielded from legal and other encumbrances that the companies could get involved in, particularly those that are not the main core of a particular investment plan.
Mr Moses Ogwal, a policy analyst at the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, when contacted yesterday, said: “Protection should be provided to all investments, whether it’s Libyan or any other. Any investment deserves protection.”