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Page added on October 31, 2007

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Uganda: Oil – Americans Are Coming – And What Next?

In December 2000, the National Intelligence Council, a think-tank within the United States’ CIA declared in a report that sub-Saharan Africa, “will play an increasing role in global energy markets,” according to John Ghazvinian in his 2007 book, Untapped, The Scramble For Africa’s Oil.

That observation set off a train of broad commercial and diplomatic maneuvering that has seen the US move decisively to counter China’s tightening grip on Africa’s energy resources. The latest in this effort is a covert scheme designed to entrench US interests in Uganda’s burgeoning petroleum industry.
On October 22, the United States Trade and Development Agency, USTDA, announced that it had procured a US consultant, RKR Enterprises, to begin exploring Uganda’s emerging petroleum and gas industry and advise on where the US may, “grant assistance.”

Often, the language used in such press statements, in keeping with the subtlety and complexity of Western diplomacy, is innocent enough.

“Potential actions that could result from the mission (the project),” said USTDA’s statement, “include technical assistance programmes, feasibility studies, training activities, and/or orientation visits.” Fair enough, you thought!

Not quite.

Implicit in the “technical assistance,” “capacity building,” “training activities,” and similar other phrases is a simple and urgent goal of guaranteeing a constant flow of resources (oil, minerals etc) from the aid recipient to the donor nation in question.

Eager to extract as much oil supply as possible, the US will basically leave Museveni to rule Ugandans as he pleases, as long as he doesn’t interfere with its petroleum interests.

With US diplomatic largess to underwrite his grip on power, a beefy treasury to purchase patronage and means to suppress opposition. Ugandans can expect little out of their oil find.


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