Chinese Traders In Kampala: Status, Challenges, and Impact on Ugandan Society


  • Ward Warmerdam
  • Meine Pieter van Dijk


Chinese petty traders are the most popular and yet most controversial foreign population that most Africans meet and engage with on a regular basis. Although the quality of their goods is suspect, their contribution of affordable goods to some African societies is recognized. There has been much discontent directed towards them, especially by small traders, because they are seen as undercutting local traders, not contributing to the local economy, and only interested in short-term gain. This paper examines the role of Chinese traders in Kampala, Uganda and their contributions to that country’s economy according to a number of economic indicators as informed by the survey that the authors conducted in Kampala in 2012. It also analyses the Ugandan government’s attitude toward these traders, the policies it implements, and the prospects for further investment in Uganda.