Uganda: How will Total’s pipeline and oil money transform politics and the economy?

By Musinguzi Blanshe

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Posted on May 7, 2021 11:14

A general view shows Hoima town, Uganda © A general view shows Hoima town, Uganda on 27 April 2015. REUTERS/James Akena
A general view shows Hoima town, Uganda on 27 April 2015. REUTERS/James Akena

After years of fights with investors, Uganda now expects its oil production to begin by 2025. The revenue the government gets could harden the regime of President Yoweri Museveni against donor criticism and boost the economy, but activities worry about government corruption, environmental damage and security threats on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda is expected to join the league of oil producing countries in the continent, following last month’s signing of a deal for the construction of a 1,440km crude oil pipeline from Uganda’s Albertine region to Tanzania’s seaport of Tanga. It will be the longest heated pipeline in the world. First oil export is planned for early 2025, Patrick Pouyanné, French oil company Total’s CEO said.

The government’s plans for the industry include the pipeline and a refinery. The deal for construction of the refinery was awarded to a consortium of US and Italian companies in 2018; but the project which has suffered several setbacks has not kicked off. The companies that got the refinery deal are yet to raise almost $4bn required for the project. The government has been promising that it will be complete the project by the end of 2023.

Oil and politics

British economist Paul Collier argues in The

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