Commonwealth Conference will Enhance Uganda's Economy

With such a conference, Ugandans need to embrace the opportunity to network and lobby for the development of our country. The torch is now on for us to demonstrate and potentiality.

Likewise, Parliament of Uganda together with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Uganda Branch is set to host the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), exactly 52 years after it first hosted the event.

The CPC which is regarded as one of the largest annual gatherings in the world is slated to run from September 22 to 29, 2019 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Kampala under the theme: Adaption, engagement and evolution of Parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth.

Over 1,000 guests are expected to attend the event and they will include Members of Parliament, Clerks of Parliament, Staff of Parliament, Speakers of Parliament and their accompanying persons of the Commonwealth Countries.

It was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association and was run in the United Kingdom. Originally, it comprised of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. However, in 1948, it changed the name, a plan that saw the coming on board of most Commonwealth countries. Fifty-three countries currently make up the British Commonwealth countries.

CPA is headed by the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the Head of the Commonwealth. But the position of Vice-Patron keeps changing as it’s only reserved for the Head of State or Government of the CPA Branch hosting the plenary conference that year.

This year, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was appointed deputy patron by the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the CPA who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Cameroon National Assembly, Emilia Monjowa Lifaka.

I am personally excited about the tangible and intangible gains that will come with this conference. First and foremost, I am optimistic that the CPC will open up remarkable tourism opportunities for the country. I have been reliably informed that guests will be given a chance to visit some sites around Kampala which include; the Source of the Nile, Kagulu Hill, and the Equator.

This for me is such a prodigious strategy for Uganda to showcase her beauty, especially to foreigners who in turn will act as ambassadors in their respective countries.

Uganda’s tourism is currently the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, bringing in about USD 1.4 Billion annually, which is 26% of our total foreign exchange earnings and 10% of the GDP.

According to records, tourism currently employs about 520,000 people directly and one million people indirectly, 70% of whom are women and youth. With such a firm foundation, CPC will help promote tourism further. 

In my own opinion, there could have never been better timing for Uganda to host this conference than now when the tourism of the country is growing faster and steady.

Uganda is indeed the Pearl of Africa, days ago; the Uganda Airlines with the Bombardiers took to the skies, what a blessing. Both the conference and the airline will sell our country’s brand to not only Africa but also, the over fifty countries that will be represented at the conference.

This is also an opportunity to create jobs, investment, and short term economic benefits. During this process of planning for the conference, a number of job opportunities, both temporary and permanent have been created.

We also can’t afford to ignore the magnitude of infrastructural development that comes with such events as the CPC. Roads and hotels among other infrastructure are renovated to cater to an influx of guests.

The CPC will also help raise the country’s profile which will, in turn, lead to lasting economic benefits. Anyone who follows our media keenly, both mainstream and digital could agree with me that we as Ugandans do not send out the best image of our own country. This is, therefore, an opportunity for Uganda to portray a good image and hence gain greater international acceptance. 

Uganda is a peaceful and hospitable country and therefore, delegates should feel at peace coming to Uganda and expect much to enjoy. Uganda, the Pearl of Africa!.

Written by KABIBI ELIZABETH, a Communication Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.

NOTE: This was first published on Equator News