NAIROBI ,KENYA: The High Commission of the Republic of Uganda to the Republic of Kenya and the Consulate General of Uganda in Mombasa jointly organized the ‘Uganda Independence Week in Kenya’ to celebrate the 59th Independence Anniversary by holding a hybrid virtual and physical Exhibition to showcase the enormous tourism and education opportunities in Uganda.
H.E Dr. Hassan Wasswa Galiwango Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya and Seychelles highlighted the mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Missions abroad to promote and protect Uganda’s interests abroad, including implementing Economic and Commercial Diplomacy (ECD) as a major vehicle for advancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation for national transformation and development. In light of these, several activities were organized at Nairobi Serena Hotel from 4th to 9th October 2021 including a hybrid Exhibition.
The exhibition showcased Uganda’s vast tourism attractions and potential and opportunities in the affordable, accessible and quality education systems which were still inadequately exploited according to Ambassador Paul Mukumbya, Uganda’s Consul General in Mombasa.
The week attracted several local and international participants under the theme “Securing Uganda’s future through the promotion of Tourism and Education for Economic Development.” With the virtual segment running from 4th to 6th and the physical segment from 7th to 9th October; 2021. Other notable activities included the High Commissioner’s radio talk show on Kenya’s Spice FM and Bottom Line Africa on KTN, a UPDF Outreach Programme in Kenya’s Kajiado County that was led by Brig. Mike Kisame and the Independence Golf Tournament at Muthaiga Golf Club which were both graced by the High Commissioner, Consul General and several members of the Uganda Parliament.
In addition to individual companies in the tourism and education sectors players, several other participants were drawn from public and private sectors – including Ugandan universities Makerere, Islamic University, UCU, MUBS, Uganda Airlines, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Uganda Wildlife Authority, (UWA) Uganda Tourist Board(UTB) and Export Promotion Board as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Educations and Sports, and Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, and other agencies from Uganda and Kenya with proceedings strictly following COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Government of Kenya.
Ugandan cuisines and foods were showcased and special Ugandan meals prepared and served by the Nairobi Serena Hotel throughout the week. In addition to this, several documentaries of Uganda’s wildlife, natural sceneries, education institutions, independence reminiscences, development milestones and cultural performances displayed.
The event provided an opportunity to explore innovative ways of promoting tourism and education using Information Communication Technology (ICT) by key actors in tourism and tertiary education – in order to multiply opportunities, build new business chains and deliver proficient services in the new normal.
The week’s events climaxed on 9th October 2021, Uganda’s 59th Independence Day with the exhibition’s closing ceremony which was graced by 5 Members of Parliament namely, Hon. Patrick Opolot Isiagi, Chairperson Budget Committee, Hon. Norah Bigirwa Nyendwoha Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Hon. Twesigye John Ntamuhira Chairperson of the Education and Sports Committee, Hon. Mwiine Mpaka, Chairperson of the Trade, Tourism & Investment Committee, Hon. Boaz Katsirabo Ninsiima Deputy Chairperson Committee of Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Janet .K. Museveni, First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports commended the leadership of the Uganda High Commission headed by H.E. Dr. Galiwango Hassan Wasswa and Consulate General heade by Amb. Paul Mukumbya for undertaking this initiative of having an Exhibition as part of the Activities to celebrate Uganda’s 59th Independence Anniversary specifically to showcase the opportunities Uganda has to offer in the Education sector.
The First Lady further urged, in remarks made on her behalf by Hon. Twesigye John Ntamuhira Chairperson of the Education and Sports Committee for the Mission and Consulate General to continue working with various stakeholders in the Education sector of both Uganda and Kenya to attract investments in various ways, including: Promoting the country’s education system and opportunities, Establishing partnerships with other institutions abroad, Promoting exchange programs with related institutions, Establishing opportunities for research collaborations and Seeking scholarships for foreign students to study in Uganda and vice versa.
Hon. John Mulimba, Uganda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional Affairs) and Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing the Government of Kenya. In his speech, Hon John Mulimba noted that in spite of being adversely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, both tourism and education sectors were being fast tracked for full-fledged resumption by the Government of Uganda. He informed the elated guests and members of Uganda’s Diaspora in Kenya that the NRM Government had opened Uganda’s borders to international arrivals and that tertiary institutions were set to open in November 2021; and secondary and elementary schools in January 2022 – after the ongoing massive vaccination campaign for teachers and students.
Awards were given to exhibitors by H.E the High Commissioner, the Consul General and the Honorable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs before inviting Hon. Ababu Namwamba to make closing remarks.
In his statement, Hon. Namwamba congratulated the Government and People of Uganda on this occasion to celebrate 59years of Independence. He further praised H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda for the continued peace and development Uganda has continued to enjoy under his able leadership.
Hon. Ababu hailed the excellent cordial bilateral relations between Kenya and Uganda noting that the brotherly bond between the two countries is not only historic but progressive and continues to grow from strength to strength.
He also appreciated the remarkable strides of development Uganda has registered in her relations with Kenya like for the recent restoration of Uganda Airlines which now frequently flies to Nairobi and Mombasa several days in a week.
The history making week was crowned by an exquisite banquet Dinner at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on the evening of the 9th of October 2021 hosted by High Commission and Consulate General.
In attendance was top ranking diplomats from over 70 Embassies, Diplomatic Missions, International Organizations, Government Officials and representatives of the Republic of Kenya as well as Ugandans living in Kenya and several well wishers who were treated to a sumptuous variety of Ugandan Cuisines and beverages like freshly brewed authentic Ugandan coffee cupped by Officials from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and generous servings of Uganda Waragi. The event was beautifully serenaded by the different cultural performances depicting the different regions of Uganda wonderfully presented by the Crane performers.