Uganda will host the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under the theme “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence in January next year.
Speaking during the media launch of the two summits, the chief organizer, Lucy Nakyobe said Uganda will achieve both tangible and intangible benefits for her citizens.
“The returns on investment for these summits are many, both visible and invisible. We shall have a business forum as a die event which we hope to promote trade and manufacturing industry, investment promotion, tourism by selling our country to guests who will be here so they can influence others to come,” Nakyobe said.
“There is also socioeconomic benefit for our people. The visitors don’t just come but also spend, we shall therefore get some money from them. There is also social interaction, political benefit as a vote of confidence in our president and the country at large to be able to host the two summits but above all, they will increase visibility for Uganda.”
The chief organizer of the two summits said with a number of people in the world not being able to know and locate where Uganda is, this will be yet another opportunity to sell the country to the outside world.
The deputy chairperson of the organizing committee, Amb. Adonia Ayebare said; “This is time for us to get on the map of the world and be visible.”
“The invisible benefits of not only hosting but also chairing the Non-Aligned Movement and Group of 77 are many. Most of the NAM and G77 countries are developed ones and we can leverage this position (chair of NAM and G77) to get foreign direct investments but also benefits in areas of infrastructure and tourism. Most countries that have chaired NAM and G77 have leveraged this position to accrue benefits,” Ayebare said.
Founded in 1961 with a goal of promoting cooperation among nations, independent of major power blocs, the Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing countries that advocate for peace, security, and development.
On the other side, the Group of 77 (G77) + China was established in 1964 as a coalition of developing nations that focuses on economic cooperation and sustainable development. It aims to promote the collective interests of its member countries and enhance their negotiating capacity in international forums.
Commenting about the opportunities presented, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba said after the summits Uganda will assume chairmanship of the two groups.
“This will provide a unique opportunity for Uganda to beat centre of global affairs, supporting and promoting interests of developing countries. The vision of Uganda’s chairmanship for NAM will be a stronger and united NAM that contributes a better world for all,” Mulimba said.
The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) vice chair, Sarah Kagingo said ahead of the two summits, Uganda will also host the East Africa business and investment forum and trade exhibition that will draw private sector leaders from across the Global South to forge new partnerships, explore investment opportunities, and chart a course for a more prosperous future for our nations.
“The forum will facilitate the signing of at least five investment deals worth $100 million, to catalyze economic activity and create jobs across our regions. The summits will also help develop a compendium of investment leads to be shared among businesses within the G77 and NAM, which will open doors to new opportunities and foster cross-border collaboration,” Kagingo said.
She noted that the forum will also see at least three joint venture partnerships signed between businesses aimed at strengthening ties, pooling resources, and expanding market reach whereas private sector memorandum highlighting priority recommendations to improve the business environment within the G77 and NAM countries, which will provide valuable insights to policymakers and drive positive change.
Kagingo explained that the world is undergoing profound transformation, and that the Global South is poised to play an increasingly significant role in shaping the global economic landscape.
According to Kagingo, the private sector will leverage the collective strengths and address the shared challenges they face with business and investment proposals during the East Africa business and investment forum, set for January, 15 to 18, 2024 at Serena Kampala Hotel.
“At the heart of the G77, NAM summits lies the recognition that the private sector is the engine of economic growth and development. It is through the ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial drive of businesses that the full potential of the Global South will be unleashed toward a more inclusive and sustainable future,” she said.
She said the business forum will focus on key areas of mutual interest, including agro industrialization, tourism, manufacturing, industrial parks, energy, mining as well as oil and gas.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Doreen Katusiime said the two summits present a rare opportunity for Uganda to self herself as the best tourist destination in the world.
“When you have an event like the two summits happening in the country, you can imagine how many hotels from Entebbe to Kampala will be full, how many Airbnbs, guesthouses, restaurants, entertainment places that will be full. That is a big boost to tourism,” Katusiime said.
“The convention centre being built is going to be a big boost to the tourism industry. This is a very big boost to tourism and since Uganda is presenting herself as the best destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), this is yet another opportunity for us to do our best.”
The Director of Protocol, Public Diplomacy and Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Charles Ssentongo admitted that the G77 and NAM summits have not been so much popularized as it was for CHOGM 2007 but said it is for a reason.
“The publicity has not as it was during CHOGM simply because the challenges have not been as much as we had in CHOGM but there is a lot of work that has taken place and soon, beginning today, you are going to hear about that work,” Amb Ssentongo said in response to a question from journalists about preparations, especially for facilities.
He said 85% of works at the convention centre at Speke Resort Munyonyo being constructed for the summits have completed.