Despite George Osborne pontificating recently about the 'anti-business culture' in the UK, could this be a case of 'you get what you wish for'?
It has been an honour for us to host a lovely Ugandan lady, Maureen, over the last few weeks.
Learning first hand about living and business conditions in an African country has been an amazing (and truly shocking) experience. I have great admiration for the way Maureen has adapted to the differences in our cultures during her 4 week stay, and it has made us look at our business and the opportunities we have through different eyes.
In the UK, we have few real barriers to business, whatever Mr Osborne thinks. We can deal equally with men or women, straights or gays. We can use 'sex', bad language and shock tactics to sell our products and not worry about language barriers.
In Uganda, there are 17 different tribes, all with their own cultures and languages. English is the only common language, and then only spoken by the educated (often younger) minority. Women don't so much suffer from glass ceiling, as a glass wall. Many tribes prohibit women speaking to, or even being taught by, men. Add on to these very real barriers, the geographical problems of being in a country with only one railway, intermittent electric, broadband etc facilities and many lesser people would just give up all ideas of free trade. I would be one of them.
Many of my customers and business colleagues have so generously given up their time to meet with Maureen and speak to her about her own personal business interest - Industrial & Occupational Psychology. I have been heartened by the generous time given by so many individuals, and on behalf of Maureen, would like to thank them. If Maureen is representative one of the new generation of young Ugandans, there is much for this African country to hope for, and we can all consider ourselves blessed to have contributed, in a very small way, to this change.