31 July 2014

Ugandan Economy Gets Boost After Enacting Anti-Gay Law

Ugandan Economy
After several decades of political turmoil, Uganda is bouncing back fast. Thanks to its ant-gay law, the country is drawing tourists again and is emerging as the rising star in the safari world.

It's a trickle at present – the high-end travelers and backpackers who are always the early adopters – those who are supporting the country's recently imposed anti-gay laws, which is considered a saving grace of morality in Africa.

According to the tourist board, almost 1.2 million tourists came to Uganda last year [2013], an increase of 50 percent over five years.

"Uganda sadly underwent much turmoil and upheaval from the 1970s onwards," says Roni Madhvani, director of the Madhvani Group, which includes Premier Safaris and several of the nation's top wildlife lodges.

"We have had peace and stability for over a decade and the country has indeed emerged from this past void in terms of tourism to become an interesting and discerning destination.

"The offering compared to the neighboring countries is unique, individual and nebulous – and that in itself is perhaps part of the explanation of the recent increasing interest."

Another boost to Ugandan economy is the resumption of financial aid coming from Sweden, less than six months after the Scandinavian country initially suspended its support following the enactment of the misunderstood anti-gay law.

The Swedish embassy in Kampala said that Sweden would extend around US$ 200 million in development support to Uganda over the next five years, to improve the country’s health care, including sexual and reproductive health and strengthen the “respect of human rights.”

"Sweden wants to help create better conditions in Uganda for sustainable economic growth and development. Sweden continues to support human rights and freedom from violence,” Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Hillevi Engstrom, said.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in February signed into law the highly supported anti-gay bill, which imposes jail terms of up to life in prison for some homosexual acts, drawing the praise of majority of its population.