The Anti-homosexuality Bill, which government seeks to bring back to Parliament, is scaring away United States (US) investors who wish to do business in Uganda, according to the US Ambassador Scott H Delisi.
“There is the issue of the anti-homosexuality legislation that was passed earlier this year and that was subsequently nullified by the Ugandan courts. This issue proved to be not only controversial, but it also undercut the nation’s economic growth.” Mr Delisi said while speaking to a trade delegation from the US at his residence in Kampala on Monday.
Mr Delisi said tourists changed their destinations, conferences were relocated, coffee buyers moved away from the Ugandan brand due to the law.
The envoy added that even President Museveni himself has cautioned legislative leaders to think carefully about how to address “these difficult issues, lest their choices seriously undermine Uganda’s economy, trade prospects and international reputation”.
In her remarks, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, said: “On homosexuality, we must find a middle ground. It should not worry you. We are going to sort it.”
“If you have partnerships with our manufactures, we would be able to invest more… I want to assure you that Uganda is the best destination for investment,” Ms Kyambadde added.
The Leader of the Delegation, Mr Stephen Hayes, the president of the Corporate Council on Africa, said it is more difficult to do business in Uganda than Kenya and Rwanda due to the different policy environments.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was given approval into law by President Museveni in February this year, but was later branded draconian and “abominable” by rights groups and was overturned on a technicality by the Constitutional Court on August 1.