The just concluded Africa Now Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo, which attracted thousands of delegates from across the world appears to have added a feather in the cap to Uganda’s budding tourism sector.
Not only did the delegates spend cash and tour some of the interesting tourist sites Uganda has to offer, the summit illustrated that Uganda now has quality and state-of the art conference facilities that can match any in the world.
Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and chairman of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless and the eighth richest African was wowed by the conference facilities at Munyonyo that he said he believes the venue can be turned into a major centre for big conferences in Africa.
“Why don’t we declare this venue; this site, the official African Conference Centre?,” Masiyiwa, who was a panelist at the conference queried.
He added: “I go all over Africa to conferences and in big hotels and we go to the basements and we come to this amazing venue…thank you very much for organising it. I will come every year if you want,” he said.
Held, under the theme, “Towards a secure, integrated and growing Africa” the Africa Now Conference 2019 attracted over 1,000 delegates that included among others, H. E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of Somalia; H.E William Samoei Ruto, the Vice President of Kenya and H. E. Samia Hassan Suluhu, the Vice President of Tanzania.
Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda co-chaired a number of sessions.
Other high profile guests and speakers included Mr Rob Shuter, CEO MTN Group, and Mr Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Built on an expansive 100 acres by the breezy shores of Lake Victoria by tycoon Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, both Speke Resort Munyonyo and Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo have 450 tastefully finished rooms and 25 international standard conference rooms.
During the summit, Museveni constantly took the guests out to enjoy the cool breeze.
Uganda is looking to become the “meetings capital of Africa” earning a chunk from the lucrative meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions (MICE) market, but is facing considerable competition from Kenya and most recently Rwanda.
The MICE industry, according to a global forecast by research firm, Allied Market Research, was valued at $752 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach $1,245 billion in 2023.
Recently, President Yoweri Museveni met Prof Klaus Martin Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and told him that Uganda “was ready and willing to host the next World Economic Forum on Africa.”