Uganda’s tourism sector will greatly benefit from the two upcoming international summits scheduled for January 2024, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba, has told Parliament.
Uganda will host the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, a forum of 120 member states from 15 to 20 January 2024, at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. Then from 21 to 23 January, at the same venue, Uganda will host the Third South Summit organized under the framework of Group 77 and China, a loose alliance of developing countries.
“Uganda’s chairmanship of the two summits will provide a platform to market Uganda’s unique tourism and investment opportunities to a larger and wider community of international actors,” said Mulimba during the House sitting on Thursday 23 November 2023.
He was presenting a statement on government preparedness to host the summits during the sitting chaired by Speaker, Anita Among.
At the events, Uganda will assume the chairmanship of NAM for three years and, G77 and China for one year, which Mulimba said will come along with a boost to the economy.
“There are two websites developed for NAM and G77 plus China with a Menu “About Uganda” containing information related to investment opportunities and tourism,” he added.
He said the events include a business forum that will facilitate direct business-to-business interaction and partnerships.
Mulimba was hopeful that hosting the summits would enhance the positive image of Uganda and that potential economic and commercial benefits would accrue over the medium to long term.
As a result, government entities such as the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and Uganda Airlines are working to complete rehabilitation works in preparation for the events.
At the Entebbe airport, Mulimba reported that construction works at the main terminal have progressed substantially and will be completed before the summits.
He noted that KCCA and other local and urban authorities along the Entebbe-Munyonyo-Kampala Corridor are carrying out beautification works in preparation for the summits. The local and urban authorities involved are; Entebbe Municipality, Katabi Town Council, Kajjansi Town Council, Makindye-Sabagabo; and Wakiso District.
The said authorities are mandated to improve garbage collection and disposal, deal with street children, as well as manage motorcyclists.
KCCA is putting street lights on selected roads and improving the drainage system, said Mulimba.
Mulimba further reported that UNRA is working on three major road projects; the Kampala Flyover, the conversion of the Kajjansi – Munyonyo Spur into an expressway, and improvements on the Kampala Northern Bypass.
In addition, UNRA is working on several diversion roads and installing street lights.
The government has thus allocated Shs 53.594 billion towards the organization of the summits.
Hon. Abdu Katuntu (Ind., Bugweri County) observed that Uganda’s image internationally is continuously improving, reiterating Mulimba’s predictions on the economic benefits likely to accrue from the summits.
“We hosted CHOGM, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, we are hosting these summits and the conference of commonwealth speakers. These are very important meetings for Uganda’s economy. For example, Malaysia alone has asked to bring over 50 delegates for the speaker’s conference, the benefits will be immense,” said Katuntu.