Business Etiquette, Language and Culture
Social customs vary according to race, tribe and religion. However, British social habits are acceptable everywhere and people are generally friendly. The usual modes of address are as used in the UK. There are no special factors for women business travellers.
Most business is conducted in English, though many local languages exist in Uganda. Swahili is often understood but not frequently used in Kampala where Luganda is largely used as a second language.
Ugandan business decisions are often made by a group within the company and there is a premium on consensus. Many Ugandans like to discuss business extensively, and usually seek external advice, 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.
Ugandans are generally conservative and formal when making speeches to a group. Greetings and acknowledgements invariably precede formal speeches in strict accordance with protocol.
When negotiating, companies will respond to your approach in an equal manner. Therefore, if a potential partner demonstrates flexibility and willingness to commit, they will gladly put the same effort into the partnership.
Personal contact with potential and existing partners/clients and regular visits to the market therefore of the utmost importance and it is natural for the business relationship to be built with time.