Uganda Falls Behind as US Ambassador Touts Kenya’s Investment Opportunities

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AMERICA AMBASSADOR - Some Ugandans redirected their attention to their own country, questioning why their government wasn't taking similar proactive steps.
Some Ugandans redirected their attention to their own country, questioning why their government wasn't taking similar proactive steps.
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A video showing U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, speaking to American investors about investing in Kenya has caused discussions about why American ambassadors don’t do the same for Uganda.

Meg Whitman, who previously served as the CEO of Hewlett Packard, impressed both Kenyans and Ugandans with her marketing skills and enthusiasm for business.

She started her pitch by highlighting Kenya’s position as a gateway to the East African market, with nearly 500 million consumers. She also emphasized Kenya’s role as a regional logistics hub and a leading financial center. Whitman praised Kenya for its Silicon Savannah and talented engineers, positioning it as the region’s information and communication technology (ICT) hub. Her statements were met with enthusiastic applause.



Whitman also highlighted Mombasa port, which serves as the entry point for 80% of East Africa’s regional trade, and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the largest in the region with 40 passenger airlines.

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Speaking from San Francisco, which houses Silicon Valley and major American tech firms like Apple, Facebook, and Google, Whitman addressed an audience that included President William Ruto at the event called the US-Africa Business Roundtable.

Some Ugandans redirected their attention to their own country, questioning why their government wasn’t taking similar proactive steps. Hilda Kabushenga, CEO of the Africa Talent Company, who attended the event, praised Kenya’s efforts and expressed a desire for Uganda to do more to market itself as a tech destination.

Meanwhile, the Uganda delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York faced criticism for its size.



Uganda recently welcomed its new American ambassador, William Popp, who presented his credentials to President Yoweri Museveni alongside diplomats from other countries. Popp assumes his role at a time when the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Ugandan military figures for human rights violations related to the 2021 presidential election.

American envoys in Uganda have primarily focused on democracy, governance, healthcare, education, and civic engagement activities, with limited engagement on the business front. Uganda’s Investment Authority has struggled to attract significant U.S. investments.

Angelo Izama, a board member at Uganda Investment Authority, confirmed their engagement with embassies and foreign organizations but acknowledged the need for more proactive efforts.

The Kenyan ambassador to Uganda, George Owinow, suggested that Uganda’s strategists should build on the information shared by the American envoy to Kenya and develop specific strategies to benefit both countries.

Since Meg Whitman’s pitch, Kenyan firms have intensified their efforts to attract American investment, while Ambassador Popp is meeting with American companies to support their investment goals in Uganda.

However, some analysts argue that Uganda’s political environment, including controversial laws and sanctions, may hinder any diplomat’s efforts to market the country for business and tourism.

Ambassador Popp may face challenges similar to his predecessors, who took actions related to human rights violations and corruption in Uganda. The role of American ambassadors in advocating for sanctions and reforms is an important aspect of U.S. foreign policy.

The public will be closely observing Ambassador Popp’s actions during a period of political turmoil leading up to the 2026 election.



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