The news about Trump shocked everybody here, too. I was queing at the checkout of the supermarket, when I received the message that Trump had won instead of Clinton.

While I was waiting my turn, I checked my phone again. ‘Victory Trump’ it said on CNN. When I told the lady at the checkout that Trump had won, she couldn’t believe it. “That’s bad”, she said and other people were also shaking their heads in disbelief when they heard the news.

I asked people why they thought it was bad and I got answers along the lines of: “He is a bad person”, “Hillary was better” but also “He will cut down on giving money to Uganda”.

The national debt of the US is disproportionately large and many people believe that development aid is partially to blame for this. Over here, you’re a rich man if you have $100 in your wallet. That makes it hard to explain that the national debt of the US consists of an amount of 22 trillion dollar. That is 22 with 12 zeros.

Such an amount of money could help Africa for decades to come. Research has shown that the enormously high national debt isn’t really caused by development aid or by sending rockets to the moon, but by the fact that US taxes are far too low.

Trump won’t be able to solve the problem of those many zeros. The low taxes are leading to a budget deficit. This might be true for Africa, too.

Our company could be seen as one of the government’s tax collectors. We must pay taxes on products that we buy from suppliers that aren’t registered with the taxation authorities.

So in fact, the well-organised companies are kind of working for the tax office, to ensure that they collect at least something. Apart from that, our local economy here is more or less tax free. No one pays any taxes at the local shop. There is no income tax, let alone something like mortgage interest deductions.

The situation is so different anyway, with banks charging interest rates of 25 – 30%. This is because more than half of the people never pay off their loans.

If Trump has a small amount of money to spare, this country could really use it to stop deforestation, which might help save the climate. But if Trump doesn’t believe in addressing climate change, all we can hope for is that instead of Donald, his uncle Scrooge will come over to bring us some money.

Feico Smit
Director Royal van Zanten Uganda