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Business Etiquettes in Uganda


British social customs are generally followed, though a number of Asians and Ugandan Muslims are engaged in business so it may be wise to obtain local advice if any entertainment is planned.

Meeting & Greeting

Titles are important and it is best to address people directly by using Mr, Mrs, or Miss, followed by the surname.
Last names are a bit complicated. Most people have a more traditional tribal name, which they usually say first, then a Christian name, usually said second. E.g. Kasozi George. So one might refer to him as Mr Kasozi, alternatively many people are referred to by their title, e.g. "Mr Bursar", "Mr Headmaster", etc.

One should always wait to be invited to use first names before doing so yourself.

Business Meeting & Negotiation

Most Ugandan executives are happy to conduct business at breakfast, lunch, and dinner business meetings; however there is a preference towards discussing business at their office.

Business decisions are often made by a group. Ugandans like discussing business issues with others before making decisions. Ugandans want to get to know people with whom they are dealing and begin most meetings with introductory conversation about people’s backgrounds and families. Refreshments are served at business meetings.

It is not uncommon for Ugandans to arrive late for an event, and for meetings to run over their scheduled time.

Business Gifts

Executives in Uganda do not expect to receive gifts from business associates, and some organisations especially, those in the public sector and government bodies, are encouraged not to accept any form of gift. If you wish to give a gift, check the organisations policy on gifts with a senior executive of the organisation.

Small symbolic items, dairies, pens, Champaign and alcohol generally are the types of gifts which are well received by executives as thank-you gifts. The gift ought not to seem inappropriately expensive.

If you are invited to a business associates home, a gift of flowers or Champagne (alcohol generally) although not expected is the practice of many executives.

Ugandan executives tend not to take a gift for their hosts partner (wife or husband), however, if you feel that doing so would be appropriate, then flowers is probably a suitable gift.


Dressing is highly valued in and people who dress well are respected. For men, a suit is common for formal business situations. In rural areas, pants and a nice collared shirt are usually acceptable. As for women, a suit is common for formal business situations. Avoid wearing anything tight or revealing. Keep accessories simple and to a minimum. If the business is done in a rural area it is more appropriate to wear a long skirt (below the knees).

Jeans, shorts, and very revealing clothing are generally not appropriate in business situations.

Make sure shoes are cleaned and polished. People will look down on you if you have worn looking shoes.

Business Cards

There is no specific protocol surrounding the giving and receiving of business cards. It is always best to treat the card with respect.

The exchange of business cards is often done towards the end of meetings, however be prepared to exchange business cards near the outset of the meeting.




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