US: Uganda Must Fix Energy Crisis


price geneva;”>“Bujagali Dam has certainly helped meet the energy demand, but the vast majority of the nation remains off the grid,” said US Envoy to Uganda, Scott DeLisi on Thursday evening in Kampala.

“I’d wager that it would take many hundreds of megawatts of additional power in the national grid just to meet the suppressed demand from those who have given up pursuing entrepreneurial dreams, for now, due to the overall low levels of national electrification.”

Scott admits that the completion of the Bujagali dam, Uganda’s power sector is largely able to meet its current energy needs which he says is a major step forward.

He, however, quickly adds: “In the months ahead, the Ugandan government must make important national decisions about the country’s development. It must take the lead to not only define a vision of economic growth that is relevant to the needs of a modern Uganda but must also offer a viable plan for its implementation.”

“Moreover, that implementation plan must be backed by a focused government commitment to actually act upon it, and to provide the resources and sustained engagement necessary to make the vision a reality. Otherwise, the vision, however lofty and commendable, will never be more than a dream.”


Scott said governments, however, cannot do it alone, adding, they need the energy, the resources, and the dynamism of private sector partners to fuel the process.

“I believe that everyone in this room, whether from government or the private sector, recognizes that the dream of a strong, stable, and productive Uganda requires — as a base — the development of essential infrastructure and energy resources to drive economic growth and to unleash the potential that is inherent in this nation’s tremendous natural gifts,” observed Scott.

He noted: “In today’s Uganda, leaders must identify new, creative ways to finance the infrastructure needs of the coming decades to build prosperity for the nation. And one undeniable truth that has been discussed today is that Uganda needs more power to fuel its growth and development.”

Scott maintained the resources, which include Hydropower, Geothermal power; oil, solar and wind were existent and needed to be harnessed to spur development.

“All must be addressed and all must be considered as Uganda seeks to ensure access to power in all corners of Uganda so that investors can tap into the potential of the entire nation and not just a small percentage of the country.”

The Ambassador said it is not enough to meet the needs of urban centers, emphasizing, power must be provided across the country to allow productive growth in all regions.

“To achieve that, Uganda will have to consider options that are more financially and technically complex, options that will preserve the environment, and options that will win the consent and participation of local populations.”

The envoy’s statement reechoes with President Museveni’s calls for investments in the energy sector to boost industrialization which would lead to job creation and increased exports.

Scott made the remarks as he gave closing remarks for American Chamber of Commerce Investment Opportunities in Energy and Infrastructure Summit at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala on Thursday evening.

The Ambassador said he was working closely with an American firm which wants to brighten Uganda’s future by investing $1.2 billion dollars in a geothermal project that would bring 2000 jobs to Uganda and 150 megawatts to the national power grid.

“I have spoken to the President and numerous Ugandan officials about this project, and with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the company and the Ministry of Energy, I think the deal is very close to being concluded. And I eagerly await the announcement,” he said without giving more details.

He maintained energy and infrastructure development are essential to unlocking the door to that future “but good governance, transparency, and true partnership between the government and the private sector are critical for capitalizing successfully on the opportunities.”

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