Steinmeier speaks out against corruption in Uganda | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.11.2015
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Steinmeier speaks out against corruption in Uganda

Uganda is a country with extremely high levels of corruption. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier addressed that fact when he stopped there during his current Africa tour. Dagmar Engel reports from Kampala.

It took a while, but the government of Uganda and Gauff, a midsized company based in Nuremberg, have finally signed a framework agreement for the new Kampala Harbor in Bukasa. The company has been pursuing the project since 2008. "The Germans aren't open to corruption, and the Ugandans know that," company founder Helmut Gauff said. "Otherwise, things probably would have moved faster." Perhaps it would have only taken two years rather than seven to get the contract signed.

The signature of the German foreign minister gives the contract a certain degree of luster. In Uganda, the third stop on his Africa tour, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said repeatedly that Germany has certain expectations of its partners. "First and foremost in the fight against corruption, in many of the countries that we visit, there is much to be desired on that front," Steinmeier said. This is not a case of wishful thinking, but rather a matter of performance and reward.

Uganda ranks No. 142 of 175 on Transparency International's corruption index. It is said that every infrastructure project that is approved in the country first has to cross President Yoweri Museveni's desk. It is he who decides who gets the contract. Gauff said that was not the case - but he also said his son had good contacts to the president. Beyond that, he said, his company invests in social projects such as educational institutions and orphanages as a matter of course.

The harbor stands a good chance of being built because there is a real need for it. Without it, Uganda, which has no direct access to the ocean, can only export goods using the utterly overburdened Northern Corridor transport route to the port of Mombasa, in Kenya. Bukasa is to be the starting point for a new Central Corridor running through the seaports of neighboring Tanzania. It could mean an economic upswing for the entire region. "Could" - if corruption does not remain the most robust business model.

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