AABF meeting continues at Munyonyo

The Africa–Asia Business Forum continues into its second day with attendances remaining high and interest levels further up, following a successful first day of presentations and interaction.

The first day proceedings ended deep into the evening, yet attendance remained high and few left prematurely. A hosted dinner by the TICAD organizers rounded up the evening with more social interaction between the delegates, while the main purpose of making business contacts was never far from any of the discussions witnessed.

The second day was launched by none other than Kenyan Minister of Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala, who flew into the country the previous night, having just returned the same day from a major sales and marketing mission into eastern Europe.

Hon. Balala drew much applause from the large number of Ugandans in attendance, when he made “good weather” over the present dispute between the two countries over a little rock outcrop in Lake Victoria where a joint commission is presently studying the exact boundaries. The press in both countries has, in the past, tried to inflame public opinion by deliberate misquotes, but the minister’s reassurance was warmly received in Kampala.

In his presentation, the minister emphasized the need for joint tourism promotional activities, since the sector is a major employer across the entire region and brings the most foreign exchange into the respective national coffers – the same sentiment voiced the previous day by President Museveni during his opening address.

Further keynote speakers were the former Indian Minister of Tourism and now his country’s representative to the UNWTO, followed by the Cameroonian Minister of Tourism, and finally Amb. Susan Sikaneta, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development in Lusaka, Zambia, all of whom added relevant experience and raised points of concern to the entire tourism sector in African countries. These main policy sessions ended in time for a late lunch, while the media were able to pose questions to the assembled “who’s who” of the summit.

The afternoon of the second day also saw a number of invited guests take a boat ride from Munyonyo directly to Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria, now a dedicated chimpanzee sanctuary, where Wild Frontiers is operating a small but fine safari camp for visitors wishing to stay overnight or longer. Other participants took advantage of pre-scheduled B2B sessions, where direct business contacts were discussed and expanded.

At the end of a long day’s work, the government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, hosted the event’s Gala Dinner at the same venue, where the commonwealth heads of state enjoyed their get-together during their Kampala Summit.