In two days time, Uganda will be teeming with about 1,200 delegates from all former British colonies. These will convene for the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), which Uganda last hosted in 1967.
Organised under the theme: ‘Adaptation, engagement and evolution of parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth,’ the conference presents an opportunity for Commonwealth member states to chart a way forward in the face of evolving technologies across the world.
Globally, different governments host business meets and conferences to attract large investments. So, Uganda should seize the opportunity as the host of this year’s CPC conference. There are several benefits for being the host country.
First, the conference provides a huge opportunity for Ugandans to make money. For instance, producers and traders of handicrafts such as baskets, mats, jewelry, pots, textiles, bags, ornaments, and wood crafts stand a great chance of smiling all the way to the bank, as delegates buy their hand-made items as souvenirs.
Providing top-notch hospitality services, for instance, is already a vote of confidence in Uganda’s hospitality industry. The tourism sector currently contributes more than 7 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Local handicrafts alone will amplify stories about Uganda’s major tourist attractions and enhance revenue for our economy.
This CPC strategically opens up Uganda to the international market. It will offer a great opportunity for unlimited networking among businesses with chances to learn what other industry players are doing through exhibitions and business-to-business linkages.
These will in turn create opportunities for businesses to tap into both domestic plus international markets. Here, they can find out what standard and conditions they must meet to penetrate other Commonwealth markets.
Entrepreneurs can also propose ideas and share notes on what happens elsewhere with the aim of improving their enterprises. Such enterprises will also employ many people in the long-run. This unity should enable the Commonwealth family of nations to work towards achieving common development goals.
As Ugandans interact with the delegates, the visitors will get a chance to learn about our resources and strengths, including skilled human resource, in addition to the potential that Uganda has. This eventually translates into trust which can further attract investment amounts into the country.
All the opportunities, which will drive a tangible return on investment, will also enhance Uganda’s profile as an investment destination. The benefits that accrue from hosting such a high-level conference should not pass us by.