Kampala — Uganda is set to host the 5th Africa-Asia Business Forum (AABF) 2009 conference on June 15-17, 2009.

The conference is intended to bring together top officials and private sector representatives from 65 countries in Africa and Asia and international organizations to review, examine and assess the existing strategies in Africa for sustainable tourism.

The forum is organized by UNDP in collaboration with Japan’s foreign affairs ministry, the World Bank, UNIDO and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. It will also deliberate on how to expand marketing opportunities in tourism and foster tourism investment among Asian and Africa nations.

The state minister for tourism, Serapio Rukundo told journalists last week that the conference will offer a platform for the tourism fraternity and the business community to exchange views on tourism promotion, trade and investment between Asia and Africa.

It will also expose participants to information of potential business opportunities, and sharing of best practices and challenges.

“Through the tourism trade fair at the conference, we hope to showcase Uganda’s tourism potential. And like any other international conference, it will boost the tourism industry in Uganda,” said Rukundo.

Uganda Tourism Association president, Mr. Amos Wekesa said in an interview that Africa’s image was at stake and this was the time to use this forum to redeem it. Africa contributes only 4% of the world’s tourism earnings.

“Africa needs partnerships. We expect government and private sector officials to use this conference to network and get business,” said Wekesa, who is one of the event’s organizers.

He said that big media networks like CNBC, CNN, BBC and Reuters were going to showcase the event live from Kampala.

Wekesa added that the private and public sector would benefit greatly from this forum through networking and business-to-business meetings.

The conference will have activities like a three-day exhibition, presentation on gorilla awareness and Uganda’s traditional dances among others.

The conference, which is expected to attract about 300 local and international delegates, including 11 ministers from different countries, will be held at Kampala’s Speke Resort Munyonyo and will be organised by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism. Some participants who have confirmed attendance from Asia are from Japan, China and Singapore.