The paper says the government now concentrates on building physical infrastructure, like roads, to secure quick wins in elections. The traditional donors want to see social development. China is indifferent, they argue.
Government likes physical infrastructure for quick wins in elections
Non-traditional donors, especially China are negotiating with
government for funding informally and less transparently, leaving room for manoeuvring
and corruption, a research paper has said.
The paper, published by the Southern Voice, a network of think tanks
from Africa, Asia and Latin America, says this can be seen from the
continuation of State House to use informal structures while negotiating with
Titled The Political Economy of Development Effectiveness in Uganda,
2019 the paper is written by researchers Dr Ibrahim Kasirye and Job Lakal, both
based at the Economic Policy Research Centre at Makerere University.
Traditionally, the paper says, Uganda got its funding from The Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the rich countries from the
west like those in the European Union. They supported budget and demanded for
This has significantly dropped as the countries disagree with government
on issues like punishing the corrupt, human rights and the mode of development.
The paper says the government in power now concentrates on building
physical infrastructure, like roads, to secure quick wins in elections. The
traditional donors want to see social development. China is indifferent, they
The researchers who looked at the data from 2000 to 2018 show that
whenever a corruption scandal or human rights abuse happened in Uganda, the
traditional donors cut budget support – the case in point being after the 2006
elections where opposition politicians were battered.
Also, after 2012 when a scandal in Office of the Prime Minister showed
that billions of shillings had been swindled by staff.
The paper says that the increasing focus on domestic resource mobilisation is
linked to the government of Uganda’s acknowledgement of traditional donors’
unwillingness to support its current major development priority, productive
This means that the country has had to look both inward and to China for
other ways of financing such infrastructure, the researchers say.
Total grants and loans to Uganda was 4.8% of the GDP in the financial
year 2015-2016 compared to 10.3% in the financial year 2004-2005, a fall that
shows the west moving away from supporting Uganda’s budget.
On the other hand, China’s total spending on road and energy infrastructure in
Uganda from 2006 to 2010 was $149 million.
From 2011 to 2016, China’s total spending in Uganda on the same was over
$1 billion. This has also seen Uganda's debt skyrocket to 38% of
GDP in 2017. Interest payments on these debts now take the biggest chunk of the
budget at 10%.