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WCGE and GIZ initiate process for a "Code of Responsible Business in Uganda"

Representatives of leading Ugandan companies and business associations have developed principles for a "Code of Responsible Business in Uganda".

They followed an invitation to a workshop that was jointly moderated by the WCGE and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on 6 and 7 November 2013 in Kampala. At the event, the Ugandan business community joined forces to demonstrate that progress in the development of Uganda can only be reached by responsible leadership in politics, business and civil society. Following the Code's vision "Make Ugandan businesses sustainable by bringing value to the Society", they outline the contribution business can make to support required change processes in the country. The workshop took place under the patronage of former German Federal President Prof. Horst Köhler who is a member of the WCGE's Board of Trustees and supporter of various Africa initiatives.

Uganda's economy has seen steady growth over the last years. However, corruption and favoritism continue to substantially impede entrepreneurship and competition. As international research indicates, Uganda is not troubled because of missing required laws or procedures; it rather lacks recognition and implementation of existing rules. "Functioning rules require that people are not only able to understand the content of rules but that they see why responsible action makes sense. This is the starting point of the Code of Responsible Business", says Dr. Martin von Broock, Board Member at the WCGE. The Ugandan project draws its fundamental ideas and structure from the German "Code of Responsible Business" that has been moderated by the WCGE over the course of the last five years. Meanwhile it is obvious that the German Code cannot simply be transferred to Uganda: "Our experiences in the field of development cooperation show that dialogue and transnational cooperation will only lead to sustainable results if local cultures and traditions are carefully taken into consideration", says Dr. Christoph Zipfel, Head of Business Development at GIZ Uganda. This is why development cooperation is always also about reciprocal learning and dialogue, he adds.

A first bridge between the German and the Ugandan Code of Responsible Business has already been built by K+S AG: Peter Bauza, Head of the company's Africa business, presented the example of a training project for 50.000 Ugandan farmers and outlined how company-based development cooperation can lead to mutual advantage. More practical examples of the added value of good corporate leadership were presented to the participants by Erfa Alani from the Aga Khan Development Network and by Consolate Ademson, Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries.

As a result of the two-day workshop the following further proceeding was agreed on: In the upcoming weeks, the participants will work on a final version of the Code of Responsible Business. The Code will then be signed and presented to the public by the leaders of the participating companies and associations. Finally, the Code shall serve as an initial point for the internal implementation, e.g. with the help of training measures, and for external dialogue, in particular with relevant stakeholders: The participants strongly agreed that following the initiative's vision, it is the explicit aim of the Code to foster a broad dialogue on required societal change. "We have to be the pacemaker", Keneth Barungi of the Madhvani Group highlighted at the workshop's closing session. WCGE and GIZ already assured their support for the ongoing process.