Special Tribute to Late Gideon Badagawa

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda


On 26th June 2021, we laid our colleague, friend, mentor and leader to rest in Muira, Iganga District. The thought that we will not see Gideon again is painful. However, we are comforted by the great things and impact he had on the private sector in Uganda.

Therefore, today, I choose to celebrate his life, and the measure of its worth to us all.

Mr. Badagawa has been a man of many talents, passions and already many of you have provided testimonies to affirm to this. I have a lot to say but for lack of space let me focus on only five;

He was passionate about enterprise development and particularly the micro and small enterprises considering that they constitute 93% of all business establishments. He was concerned about their inability trade and compete favorably due to high interest rates, inadequate skills, poor technology, high cost of doing business, limited access to finance, burdensome polices, regulations & Laws and limited access to quality management infrastructure. All these hampered their ability to survive beyond first year and for those that survive transformation through growth is almost next to impossible. We see few cases of small companies growing into medium, and medium into large. We have not seen many becoming locally grown and bred multinational companies.  As a leader at PSFU he made the effort to advocate for capacity building projects so that the business community could get grants to improve their businesses. By the time of his death, through our various matching grant schemes and the Skills Development Facility, about 5,000 micro, small and medium enterprises had accessed grants to install better quality management systems including ISO certification, improved technology, up skilled their employees, installed better management systems, improved their brands, secured more markets for their products and obtained financing for their businesses. Many; young and old, micro, small and medium enterprise and large alike have testified about how their business fortunes were impacted positively. Within these business, about 100,000 individuals comprising employees, customers and suppliers were impacted too.

Beyond the capacity building which individual businesses have control over, there are policies, Laws & regulations and the general business environment onto which businesses have no control over whatsoever. He labored so much to try and improve the environment under which businesses operate to make it conducive to trade as well as make money and grow. He led extensive consultations with members and the general private sector and travelled extensively locally and abroad looking for good practices in enterprise development. He advocated for better policies, laws and regulations. Many Laws have been updated and new ones drafted and enacted and are under implementation. Others are awaiting presidential assent, while others are still in the legislative processes.


Further afield, lack of markets began emerging as an issue over the last four years. This was a puzzle considering that only a few yearsago, the country imported almost everything. Accordingly, policy makers had to balance between protecting the nascent manufacturing while at the same time ensuring goods could be imported cheaply into the country in order to avoid shortages. Thanks to the collective efforts of policy makers, enterprise development facilitators like PSFU and investors, today Uganda is a surplus country in some products which we used to import namely sugar, cement, steel products, milk, poultry & eggs to mention some.   Markets became a brand new challenge before us. The key question now is how do we expand markets to absorb the surplus production?

PSFU under Gideon’s leadership advocated for expansion of markets in three ways. One by ensuring that incomes increased for those that were already earning and starting income projects for those not earning. The logic here was that increased disposable income creates effective demand and increases markets. Secondly, that any available local market; whether in government or private consumption be supplied by local producers. This is the advent of Buy Uganda Build Uganda and later the enactment of the Local Content Law. It is sad that Gideon left before the Local Content Law was assented to by H.E the President. The third way to expand markets is to look for regional and international markets. At enterprise level MSMEs face bigger challenges of lack of markets whether in local or foreign markets because of limited capacity to marshal scale and compete. To overcome capacity challenges, MSMEs need to cooperate or link with bigger companies to access markets. This then called for a change in approach from “produce and look for a market approach” to a “secure a market and produce” approach. This approach is quickly gaining acceptance among development practitioners and Government.

Secondly, he was passionate about eliminating inequality; he used to be so much pained because of the inequality in this Country most especially regarding women. You are aware that women are not treated equally in this Country. He worked so hard to promote programs within the private sector that promote women equality, he looked for partners and as we speak about 42 companies have introduced gender equality policies in their companies. These policies include equal opportunity for jobs at all levels, equal pay for equal work among others. He also labored to stop violence against women, girls and children. In his memory, I implore all those who knew him and all those reading these pages join the fight to eliminate Gender Based Violence.

Thirdly Mr. Badagawa was a family man. He was passionate about his family. He did whatever it took to ensure that he was able to balance his work with his family life. He actively participated in the education journey of his children. Getting them to school, visiting them, reviewing classwork, engaging with the teachers and participating in sports days etc. Many men are not as involved as he was. In fact teachers complain about the fact that very few men get involved in children’s education activities compared to women. Men; let us learn from Gideon and do likewise. 

Mr. Badagawa was a talented communicator and mobiliser. He used every opportunity to communicate and rally the business community towards agreed causes. He moved from media house to media house, workshop to workshop talking as if his life depended on it. Even as recently as November last year the country remembers Gideon championing the “Tugobe Corona” campaign. He moved street to street, media house to media house preaching wearing a mask and compliance to other standard operating procedures for the population to protect itself again Corona.  Alas! Corona has taken him.

Gideon’s death, really shook us to the core; but we are not broken. On behalf of management and staff I want to assure the private sector, government, development partners and the general public that PSFU will remain strong and continue serving you as has always been.    

Gideon; May your soul rest in eternal peace.






Private sector players have appealed to government to implement policies that support recovery of businesses especially in the midst of the pandemic.

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda continues to threaten the economy as infection rates rise to 77,505 and reported deaths reach 868 as of June 29, 2021. The 42-day lock down that has pushed many Ugandans to stay home has cut many from their sources of livelihoods as well as disrupted normal operation of crucial businesses.

These combined have led to contractions in investments due to induced uncertainty in consumption, rising levels of income poverty leading to reduced domestic demand, projected rise in non-performing assets especially for MSMEs and reduced employment creation potential of the economy especially salaried jobs.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in partnership with The Innovation Village, Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Healthcare Federation and Mastercard Foundation, organized a virtual public-private policy dialogue, on Thursday, 8th July 2021 under the theme “COVID-19 implication on life, business and jobs: Reflection on the FY2021/22 National Budget” to share ideas on how best government and the private sector can work together to rebuild the country’s economy. The dialogue was broadcasted live on NBS TV, as well as other online platforms which included zoom, twitter, YouTube among others.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic development said the budget for this financial year continues to focus on interventions which counter the socio-economic recovery. In line with the budget, the most immediate priority for government is vaccination with a target to vaccinate at least 22million people. It is only then that the country can fully reopen the tourism, entertainment and creative sectors.

Kasaija said, “In this financial year, government is focusing on strengthening the health care system to be able to deal with future healthcare emergencies through improving health worker skills and working environment, provision of personal protective equipment. There is also a plan to increase funding to enhance the welfare of health workers and recruitment of more personnel.”

Government will also continue to support the advancement of scientific research and innovation.

“We believe that focus on digital transformation will enhance the socio-economic transformation and improve efficiency and productivity. This include the extension of the national ICT infrastructure coverage up to the sub-county level, enhance usage of ICT in national development and service delivery, and strengthen the policy, legal and regulatory framework,” he said.

Joining the discussion via zoom, Patience Byaruhanga, Lead Agriculture at the Mastercard Foundation said the crisis is a reminder of how important concerted efforts are towards tackling the pandemic.

“In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation launched a COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program to support health workers and first responders with protective equipment. To enhance economic recovery, we partnered with the private sector to expand access to financial services for micro, small and medium enterprises, enable e-learning so that young people continue to study as well as supporting the adoption of digital solutions to address the urgent needs of the people. We have also purchased 12million vaccines to support governments’ vaccination programs throughout Africa,” Byaruhanga said.

According to Japheth Kawanguzi, Team Lead at The Innovation Village, to fully revive the economy and ensure businesses become resilient against the third or fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic, there is need to incorporate technology and innovation into businesses, offer financial relief to start-ups, and create policies that provide favorable environment for entrepreneurs to walk the business journey.

The COVID-19 pandemic, in his view, has exhibited the need to leverage technology in key economic sectors to drive economic transformation and growth.

“Today, the Internet has become an engine for entrepreneurs to start businesses online, a platform for start-ups to market their business and a facilitator for creative and innovative ideas,” Kawanguzi said.

He added, “By putting a 12 per cent excise duty on internet bundles, we are sacrificing long-term gains for short-term needs. The Start-up ecosystem is still young and needs full government support in form of good policies, massive funding to accelerate their businesses. A favorable investment environment can help government grow its tax base.”

Francis Kisirinya, the Acting Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda while presenting the private sector report to government said the organization continues to engage government agencies to develop favorable policies for the sector to thrive. Most efforts made are yet to bear fruit especially on the taxation policies.

“We recommended that the digital tax stamp for manufacturers be reduced in this financial year. However, this was not addressed by government. Although, Over The Top (OTT) tax on social media was removed, the government introduced a 12 per cent tax levy on internet bundles. This is a big hindrance on digital transformation, innovation and attainment of a fully digital economy,” Kisirinya explained.


Download more information below;

pdf Speech by Hon. Matia Kasaija Minister of Finance (2.06 MB)

pdf Key note address by Dr. Fred Muhumza (1.68 MB)

pdf Speech by Mr. Francis Kisirinya - Acting Executive Director, PSFU (502 KB)


Kampala, 1st July, 2021. On behalf of the PSFU Board of Directors, I am pleased to inform you that Mr. Francis Kisirinya has been appointed as Acting Executive Director for Private Sector Foundation Uganda. This appointment commences 1st July 2021 for a period of six months until a substantive Executive Director shall be appointed by the Board.

This follows the unfortunate demise of the incumbent, the late Gideon Badagawa, who passed away on 21st June 2021.

Francis has served PSFU in various capacities including deputizing the Executive Director and we are optimistic that he will follow through to continue promoting private sector competitiveness and development through this transition period. 

We wish him all the best.

pdf Click here to download official announcement (502 KB)

pdf Click here for Francis' full profile (221 KB)




The Board, Management and Staff of the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) with deep sorrow announce the death of their Executive Director, Mr. Gideon Badagawa. Mr. Badagawa passed away this morning of Monday 21st, June 2021 at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

Gideon, as he was fondly called, was jointly admitted to hospital, with his wife, Susan Birungi Badagawa, two weeks ago after testing positive for Covid19.

He is survived by two daughters Anita and Nina Badagawa.

The Chairman PSFU, Hon. Dr. Elly Karuhanga, said this morning, “We are shocked at the death of Gideon. He was a dedicated, visionary, steady hand of the private sector.”

The PSFU’s Vice Chairperson Hon. Victory Ssekitoleko said this about Gideon, “We have lost our Kabona Wauife (problem solver). Gideon was a brilliant, hardworking and very supportive leader. We are still devastated.”

PSFU’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kisirinya when contacted said, “We are still in shock at the passing of our brother, a great icon of the private sector in Uganda. He was hardworking, versatile, a motivator, and a confidant. The family, PSFU, the private sector and the country has lost a great man.”  

Mr. Badagawa was born on May 8th, 1966 in Kigulu. He started his primary school in Iganga Boys School from 1973 – 1979.  He went for his level in Busoga College Mwiri from 1979 -1983 and thereafter to Makerere College for A’level from 1984-86. He undertook his undergraduate degree course at Makerere University where he graduated with an upper second-class honors degree in Statistics in 1986-1991. 

Mr. Badagawa later did a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from the University of Rotterdam's Institute of Social Studies at The Hague in the Netherlands (1995). He later did a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management from the Maastricht School of Management 1998, in the Netherlands and attended several courses in economics and the environment including “Statistics for Environmental Policy” at the Munich Centre for Advanced Training, in Germany 1996.


  • Worked with Public Service as a Statistician, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. 1992-1993.
  • Business and economic Instructor at the institute of Data Processing, Kampala 1993.
  • Since 1992-2000, Mr. Badagawa had taught at the department of Planning and Applied Statistics - ISAE, Makerere University in the fields of Development Economics and Planning. He also taught Biostatistics at Faculty of Bio Statistics. He also taught National Accounting and Income Analysis at Masters Level at Makerere.
  • He worked with PSFU from 2000-2008, as Senior Policy Analyst, Manager Policy Advocacy, Director for Policy Advocacy.
  • He served at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) from 2008- Jan 2010 as Executive Director.

Mr Badagawa later returned to PSFU as Executive Director from 2nd January 2010 until Monday 21st June, 2021. He has served at PSFU for 19 years.

Mr Badagawa has also served on various boards and councils. He was in the following areas:

  • Chairman Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS) Design Team 2011-2014.
  • Vice Chairman, and board Member NEMA (2013-2016).
  • Co-Secretary to the Presidential Investors’ Roundtable (PIRT).
  • Member of the Board of Uganda Energy Credit Capitalization Company Limited.
  • Member of the Board of the National Planning Authority (NPA).
  • Member of the Board of the Warehouse Receipts Authority (UWRA).
  • Member of the Board of the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).
  • Member of the Business Licensing Reform Committee (BLRC).
  • Member of the Financial Markets Development Committee.
  • Member of the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS) Steering Committee.
  • Member of the Financial Markets Development Committee coordinated by Bank of Uganda.
  • He participated in the design of CEDP where he has also been Chair of the CEDP technical committee and secretary of the CEDP steering committee

His work in Policy and Advocacy: He undertook policy research analysis in advocacy in various areas of concern for business and private sector growth, synthesizing these concerns and develop policy position papers. These positions formed basis for dialogue with government on policy reforms required to improve the business environment in Uganda.

Additionally, through the Enterprise Skills Linkages programme under the World Bank-funded Private sector competitiveness project 2005- 2009, Mr Badagawa successfully coordinated the various training programmes focused on youths’ enterprises to improve their entrepreneurial abilities and market competitiveness. This also included mind-set change for young entrepreneurs.

He coordinated Private sector participation in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) revision process supported by DFID in 2003. He also coordinated the development of market-oriented coffee sector strategy for Uganda (funded by The World Bank) which aimed at strengthening supply-to-market linkages.

He was a part of the implementation team for running World Bank-funded Private Sector Competitiveness Project (PSCP II) with particular emphasis on promoting public-private-partnerships to improve the business environment in Uganda.

He coordinated the implementation of the Skills Development Facility (SDF), a component of the Government of Uganda project on skills development to support and promote employer-led short-term training for workers, as well as enhancing national capacities for internships, apprenticeships and industrial training. More than 35,000 youths have so far been trained under this programme in various fields.

He also coordinated the MasterCard-funded projects, an intervention focusing on creating, maintaining and sustaining growth in job markets through strengthening the capacity of value-chain actors to efficiently produce and sell their goods and services in expanded markets. The programme also aims developing new diversified financing mechanisms as well as growing the capacity of leaders and their support service providers to manage and expand their enterprises.

Under the Covid-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Project (CERRUP), Mr. Badagawa championed efforts of the Government of Uganda in controlling the spread of COVID-19. This project augments the survival, recovery and resilience of enterprises impacted by the negative economic effects of COVID-19.

As the Executive Director PSFU Gideon has undertaken the following assignments;

  • Lead person in policy research and advocacy. He pursued a mandate of advising government on policy issues affecting private sector dialogue.
  • Representation of the private sector/business community on the policy platform and throughout the policy making processes.
  • Coordination of capacity development initiatives for business associations and enterprises.
  • Worked with NGOs, the civil society groups and development partners to ensure good governance and accountability across Government and Non-Government actors.
  • Lobbied and carried out policy advocacy with government and development partners in a manner that informs and strengthens public policy for business growth and improved livelihoods among families and communities.
  • Institutionalized the partnership between Government, the private sector and Uganda’s development partners including the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), UK-AID, the European Union, the Ban Van Leer Foundation the UNDP, GIZ Endev and the MasterCard Foundation.
  • Oversaw the operations and represented the interests of the East African Business Council (EABC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) here in Uganda, PSFU being the National focal point for both regional groups in Uganda.

As a champion of the fight against Corona Gideon together with PSFU partners launched a campaign dubbed “Tugobe Corona. Wear A Mask!” in October 2020. The campaign was aimed at sensitizing and creating awareness among Ugandans to share information on the benefits of wearing a mask and wearing it correctly at all times to keep Covid-19 at bay.


Details of his send-off will be communicated later.

Gideon will be dearly missed by the Private Sector and all of humanity.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.




Uganda - Covid-19 Emergency Round Table

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda

On 7th June 2021, the UN Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Private Sector Foundation for Uganda have organized a virtual emergency Round Table on COVID-19 with participation of the Ministry of Health, UN Country Team, Member States, development partners, private sector and CSO/NGOs. 

The meeting aimed to discuss the current status of COVID-19 pandemic globally and in the country and present the UN COVID-19 Resurgence Plan aligned to the National COVID-19 Resurgence Plan. 

The Ministry of Health and WHO presented current status of COVID-19 pandemic national and global and in the country and presented the UN COVID-19 Resurgence Plan aligned to the National COVID-19 Resurgence Plan (12 months). The UN COVID-19 Resurgence Plan includes health focused life-saving interventions for the affected people in the next 3-6 months. 

The private sector led by PSFU Chairman presented the efforts and contribution made previously through the Tugobe Corona Campaign to promote awareness of SoPs; donations presented financially and in-kind to Government to support medical relief and supplies; and testing. The private sector encourages partnerships to ensure that we work collectively to raise awareness of SoPs, as well as create sustainable solutions such as establishing facilities to produce vaccines and testing requirements. 

Through bringing various stakeholders into the meeting, it helped to both discuss the emergency status of COVID-19 pandemic and also elaborate on initiatives that both development partners and private sector can provide. Some of the key highlights of the discussions included: 

  • Key COVID-19 emergency needs include adequate oxygen supplies and facilities; Uganda’s ability to produce vaccines and testing locally; provision of rigorous medical care for the severely and critically ill; institution of robust public health measures to limit transmission rates in the communities and among the most vulnerable populations; support for vaccination activities and testing among others
  • Prevention, awareness raising, and risk communications remain critical priorities
  • Issues of the accountability for COVID-19 response in 2020 were raised
  • Based on the advice from the Administrator of the Donations fund the priorities have been agreed upon as follows; procurement of 282 double cabin pickups destined to the districts to facilitate the district task forces; construction of two blood banks in Soroti and Arua; and construction of 3 border shelters
  • Questions were raised the level of the preparedness for any potential emergency
  • It was clarified the GoU financing in the medium term is within the comprehensive plan – but not covering the emergency response
  • It was recommended to place a timeframe for the emergency requirements as immediate emergency needs
  • Longer term priorities are in the resurgence need to understand what is immediate and what is medium term
  • How can we engage youth to speak, need platforms for peer-to-peer collaboration
  • Participation and ownership of messages
  • Include messages which demonstrate benefits of good nutrition; this can be included in the SoPs
  • Need to build on lessons learned on risk communications and community engagement last year





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