Ugan­dans told to for­get oil and con­cen­trate on agri­cul­ture

The African - - TOURISM - BY STAFF RE­PORTER & AGEN­CIES

the best en­ter­tain­ment city in East Africa and Bwindi Park voted as a birdlife des­ti­na­tion in Africa.

Uganda was rep­re­sented by 14 tourism stake­hold­ers who in­cluded tour op­er­a­tors, hos­pi­tal­ity op­er­a­tors who teamed up with the Uganda Wildlife Au­thor­ity (UWA) and UTB to sell their coun­try as a des­ti­na­tion of the Big 5 plus 2 (Go­ril­las and Chim­panzees).

Jac­inta Nzioka from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said they have been stat­ing their po­si­tion of Kenya be­ing a hub of busi­ness in the EAC re­gion, in­clud­ing tourism, at the Ind­aba.

Their stand branded lo­cally as “Asambe Kenya” which means Tem­bea Kenya has a mul­ti­tude of key tourism stake­hold­ers drawn from across the coun­try from the white beaches in Diani and Mom­basa to the cap­i­tal Nairobi.

Kenya’s in­ter­na­tional flight bookings to the coun­try had in­creased by more than 20 per cent, she said, and the ex­tra num­bers are cred­ited to the gov­ern­ment’s re­duc­tion of park en­try fees and the waiv­ing of visa fees for chil­dren un­der 16.

The char­ter in­cen­tive scheme an­nounced by the gov­ern­ment last year, ac­cord­ing to Nzioka, con­tin­ues to at­tract air­lines. Many of which are ex­pected to re­sume flights in the tourist sea­son. The Sin­ga­porean min­is­ter of state for trade and in­dus­try has ad­vised Uganda not to be ex­cited by the po­ten­tial prospects the oil in­dus­try seems to present.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Koh Poh Koon, much as oil has the po­ten­tial to turn around Uganda’s econ­omy, agri­cul­ture re­mains the coun­try’s strength be­cause it is where Uganda has a nat­u­ral com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage.

He added that the gov­ern­ment of Uganda should not lose sight of the agri­cul­tural sec­tor to the min­ing and ex­trac­tive in­dus­try as a re­sult of the newly dis­cov­ered oil de­posits.

Dr Koon, who was on a state visit to ex­plore growth op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as strengthen the trade re­la­tions be­tween his coun­try and Uganda, was speak­ing dur­ing a meet­ing with his Ugan- dan coun­ter­part Amelia Kyam­badde at her of­fice in Kam­pala last week.

In a state­ment is­sued last week by the min­istry, Dr Koon said: “Uganda is do­ing a good job in car­ry­ing out or­ganic farm­ing and I en­cour­age the coun­try to de­velop its agri­cul­tural sec­tor, market the agri­cul­tural prod­ucts so that it be­comes the world’s market for or­ganic prod­ucts.”

He con­tin­ued: “The ben­e­fits of oil min­ing and re­fin­ery are nu­mer­ous, but be cau­tious about its chal­lenges or risk fac­tors.”

In re­sponse, Ms Kyam­badde said Uganda is an agri­cul­tural based econ­omy and its lo­ca­tion at the heart of re­gional eco­nomic blocs such as the EAC-Come­saSADC, a tri­par­tite Free Trade Area, pro­vided it with vast market po­ten­tial and in­creased trade op­por­tu­ni­ties for the coun­try and its trade part­ners.

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