How Uganda can be like Biden’s “Beast” 

Author, Phillip Matogo. PHOTO/FILE

During the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, pictures emerged of several African leaders travelling in a bus on their way to Buckingham Palace to attend the said funeral.
As Kenya’s William Ruto, Tanzania’s Suluhu Hassan were caught smiling on the bus; Canada’s Justin Trudeau, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, China’s Wang Qishan and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro also used the bus.
However, US president Joe Biden’s motorcade, led by his official car “The Beast”, was given different, more preferential treatment. 

Then, as if this was not enough, the US economy seems to be benefiting from the energy crisis in Europe. This is because companies in Europe that make steel, fertiliser and related feedstocks are moving to the US where stable energy prices and government succour are the presiding realities. 
Europe’s rising energy prices and seemingly unending supply-chain troubles may usher in what economists are calling a new era of deindustrialisation. Which, the experts say, issues from a reduction in industrial capacity.

As industries shut down, deindustrialisation takes hold and ravages communities by causing unemployment in manufacturing industries. Deindustrialisation was witnessed in the US during the 2008 “Great Recession”, it was also witnessed there in the 1970s as steel mills and car factories in the US, United Kingdom, and France stopped operation. 
This time around, official Washington has come up with a variety of antidotes to an increasingly poisoned situation by emphasising green energy policies. Evidently, the US is tilting in favour of companies which make energy-intensive products.

Although the US economy has been largely hobbled by rising inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks and growing fears of an economic slowdown, it has managed to make hay where the sun doesn’t shine.  This is thanks to spending by official Washington on infrastructure and green-energy projects while availing tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. This has attracted many European companies to open business operations in the US. 
Thus, in the shadow of such deindustrialisation, Uganda, being a “pre-industrial society”, has a competitive advantage.  Uganda is rich in energy resources, including hydropower, biomass, solar energy, geothermal, peat, and wind. 

This means we can turn our wealth of natural resources, upon which a green approach depends, into a comparative advantage. 
Without question, our country is green enough to give us the greenbacks (dollars) we so desperately require to develop. 
Being a green country, it follows that we must adopt green-growth principles that not only protect our rich natural resources but give us economic prosperity courtesy of our country’s natural endowments. 
As with America, we must look at how we can provide tax credits to our green economy in order to join the charge the US is leading by promoting green efficiencies, so to speak. 
Being gifted by nature demands that we harness our natural gifts towards economic gains that keep on giving. 

This requires a visionary and determined political leadership whose efforts are not channelled towards sinking political Opposition, but canalised by policies that leverage our widespread green economic capacities. 
To be sure, Uganda’s renewable energy resources can be used for energy production and the provision of energy services, if helped along by a raft of policies in this direction. 
America has shown us the way by spending more on green energy projects and creating a legal framework to protect green economy. 

President Museveni stood out, literally and metaphorically, by not getting on the bus at the Queen’s funeral. However, he should not stop there. 
His government should also follow Biden’s government by creating green-specific policies which will make all Ugandans stand out. And also turn our economy into a “beast”, like Biden’s official vehicle.

Mr Matogo is a professional copywriter  
[email protected]

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