They dont speak VISA. I'm just back from Uganda. The country shows you what 20 years of Civil war and uncontrolled liberalisation can have on the National psyche.First of all coz of the war there are no long term established businesses. Most of the tycoons i.e. Mukwano, Wavamuno, Sudhir, Saleh...... really made their money in the past decade(with the exception of the Madhvani family).
Imagine if Kenya was at war in the past 20 years of course there would be no old time businesses & family businesses like Kenchic, Text Book Centre, Pattni Jewellers etc.Now that is downtown Kampala. It looks like Tom Mboya with exhibition stalls.Street after street is filled with buildings that are exhibitions. Imagine World Business centre on Tom Mboya replicated from Koinange street up to river road and you get the picture.
There are no large/significant indigenous enterprises, everyone is a suitcase Dubai/China importer so no one will oppose the mushrooming of such businesses. However from the Sheraton Hotel towards the State House it looks modern a mix of Gigiri/village market and Hurlingham.
The big firms i.e. MTN,Stanbic, Shoprite are all owned by South Africans.I went into a Shoprite supermarket and apart from Farmers Choice and Del monte everything was air- freighted from South Africa. The worst thing about the Shoprite supermarket was that i couldn't use my VISA credit card there. Then after buying on the way out i had to give my receipt to a watchman who tallied it with my shopping before i could leave the store.Can you imagine going to Nakumatt/tuskermatt/Uchumi then a watchie asks for your receipt before allowing you to go? That shows you how backward the country is.
Then i later discovered i couldn't use my card anywhere (unless it was an ATM), apparently they fear card fraud. so to use it in a hotel you have to be a guest. If you cant use VISA in a country, then definitely regardless of what they say, they are backward.
By the way cars, land,and booze(even in a 5 star place are cheap).But electronics are way cheaper in Nairobi(i think coz of competition).Some Electronics traders dont bother going to Dubai, they source their stuff in Nairobi.
P.S. I looked at the latest Actuarial numbers and Uganda is one of the countries which as at 2004 had no indigenous Actuaries.