In February, a delegation of German businesspeople traveled to Kampala, the Ugandan capital, to promote their products and services, most of which focused on security, cybersecurity, surveillance technologies, and disaster management systems. The multinational consulting services network PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated that Uganda loses about US$53 million per year due to cybercrime.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has expressed concern that German firms were losing interest in investing in the Great Lakes country. In 2019, total German investment amounted to just more than US$103 million, which still makes Germany one of Uganda’s primary foreign investors but is significantly less than the total investment amount from China.
Why It Matters
Germany, like other Western powers, has been alarmed by China’s intensive investment gambit in Africa, far outpacing European spending on the continent within a relatively short period of time. Economic investments function as a form of soft power, a way to leverage influence over a foreign country with the promise of financing and development. Germany, in particular, as one of the strongest economies in the European Union, has been striving for a greater presence in Africa over its economic rival France and other global economic powers like India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada. New oil reserves were recently discovered in Uganda, drawing greater interest for foreign direct investment on top of the country’s existing mineral wealth. Electronic services displayed by this latest delegation, including biometric ID systems for Uganda’s police, will help Uganda modernize its bureaucracy, streamlining international business relations and protecting big-budget investments.