Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | January 2013 | Happy New Year!

Posted January 8, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 7,639 views


Dear Readers,

It’s a new day and a new year. “The old has gone and behold the new has come”, as the Bible says in speaking about new beginnings. For those who peg their yearly plans to New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to set those goals for 2013, if you have yet to do so.

2012 was a great year for me and I look forward to an even better 2013. On December 30th, the 2nd Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala was held at Kampala Serena Hotel, with quite a bit of glamour. Among the recipients were Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, UNAA President Francis Ssenoga, John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi, Jackson Karugi, Phad and Xena Mutumba, and Stephen Kiprotich, who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award after winning Olympic Gold for Uganda during the London Olympics. [See link below]

The artist and entertainment lineup included Navio, Exodus, Hum Kay, Ndere Troupe, Batabazi Nation and fashion designers Stella Atal, Martha Jabo and Lois Ampeire .The whole idea for the event was born out of the desire to harness the power of the Ugandan Diaspora, an economic force credited with remittance figures of up to three trillion Ugandan shillings in 2012 alone, continuing to exceed direct foreign investment in recent years.

The networking gala came on the heels of the 7th ‘Home is Best’ summit, sponsored by the Ugandan Investment Authority (UIA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where this year the concept of Diaspora Bonds was discussed. The idea, actually, is not new, but is now taking hold in numerous countries. Israel and India have successfully issued such bonds in the past and Greece is pursuing the idea, Numerous countries are setting up pilot schemes.

According to George Washington University’s Liesl Riddle, when diaspora members invest in their homelands, they are motivated by more than just profit: “Social and emotional motivations also play a role”. Diaspora investors might be willing to accept a lower rate of return and have a greater tolerance for uncertainty when buying diaspora bonds than they would a mainstream investment. Diaspora investors might partially view the purchase of a diaspora bond as an act of charity and might also have a greater understanding of a country’s level of risk than other foreign investors. The diaspora bond allows individuals to put their money to work for a cause that they support, although such bonds are not guaranteed success: Ethiopia’s recent diaspora bond issue has been troubled, perhaps out of a reluctance on the part of those in the Diaspora to support a government from which many had fled.

With Uganda facing some aid cuts due to massive graft, the Diaspora will play a major role in jump starting the economy when these cuts start to bite in the first quarter of 2013. Also interesting to watch this quarter will be elections in Kenya on March 4 and how they will play out following the violence that marred the last general elections in 2007.

What else can we expect in 2013? A lot of political posturing, for one thing. Some pundits are beginning to observe that after almost 30 years in power, the NRMO is starting to show signs of discord and might implode as we head towards general elections in 2016, following the rebellion of some party members against official party positions on contentious issues. And although the US managed to step back from the “fiscal cliff”–averting tax hikes and spending cuts that could have meant a return to recession and global economic downturn–the tense debate is not over, as America is pushing against its debt ceiling. The amount of borrowing the government is allowed and how to avoid a shutdown of the government will stoke the debate in Washington again this spring.

Politics aside, noteworthy for 2013 is a new Diaspora event: on July 6th we shall be holding the very first Ugandan Diaspora Business and Investors Expo at the Newton Marriott, a first for the Boston area, which boasts the highest concentration of Ugandans in North America. The idea is to tap into Massachusetts as a major technological hub that could attract investors looking to do business with Uganda. More details to follow soon.

Finally, as we begin a new year, purpose to be a person of your word. Integrity and character are great virtues that we should strive to embody in this world full of uncertainty and betrayal. And may the good Lord continue to “expand and increase your territory” in 2013.

A Happy New Year!

Ronnie Mayanja
MSc. Comm –  Boston University
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About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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