By Ambrose Gahene
Uganda will be hosting the Uganda ‘Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum’ in October 2017. The Forum is aimed at launching a new initiative to attract tourism into Uganda, make it a destination for high-end paying clients, and secure long-term sources of funding for the protection and maintenance of Uganda’s Protected Area network.
President Yoweri Museveni has said continued underdevelopment and lack of democracy are some of the challenges facing wildlife conservation in Africa.
The President was speaking last Wednesday at a press briefing held at Entebbe State House, to launch the Uganda Giant’s Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum. He said for countries to ensure conservation of the environment, there is need to lessen the pressure on national parks by investing more in industries and services.
“If you are to support conservation sustainably, you must help backward countries become modern because this will lessen people putting pressure on national parks,” he said.
The President said having a big population of people in agriculture is a characteristic of backward societies. He noted that developed countries, such as the United States, which is three million square miles and a population of over 300 million, has only 2 per cent of that population in agriculture while the rest are in industry and services. He, therefore, stressed the need for organic metamorphosis of societies from peasantry.
President Museveni in addition pointed out that; Tourism has distinguished itself as a productive sector with the ability to transform Uganda from a predominantly peasant society to middle income level. “The Investment Forum specifically seeks to create strategies to contribute to increase Tourist arrivals from the 1,323,000 in 2016 to 4,084,000 in 2020; foreign exchange earnings from US$ 1.371 billion to US$2.7 billion in 2020; promote job creation; and increase the contribution of tourism to GDP from Shillings 7.3 trillion to shillings 14.68 trillion at the end of the FY 2020”, says a State House source.
The source further said; this initiative will deliver the following:
- The delivery of an investment framework to drive tourism into Uganda, make it a destination for high-end paying clients, and secure long-term sources of funding for the protection and maintenance of Uganda’s protected area network.
- The staging of the Uganda “Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum” and launching the investment framework that meets the above objectives.
- The continued implementation of the financial mechanisms, creating an enabling environment and investment framework after the Forum has been held and to continue to secure investment into Uganda’s Protected Areas.
- The Investment Forum is intended to spur long term investment as a strategic platform and a means to provide tourism product diversification so as to further increase visitor numbers and secure reliable revenue for the enhanced protection of Uganda’s biodiversity conservation areas.
- The NRM Government shall ensure that incentives are created for the investors, as part of the inward investment provided by them and under the Public Private Partnership Policy, for them to contribute towards conservation programmes where they invest.
President Museveni thanked partners in the conservation program as follows:
- “The Giants Club, the conservation initiative administered by the conservation organization Space for Giants; that I am delighted to be a founding member of. The Giants Club has worked hard, and spent considerable financial resources, in developing this initiative and I am thankful to see its true commitment to Uganda demonstrated so strongly.
- The United Nations Development Programme, which has brought its expertise and is providing such invaluable support in shaping this initiative.
- The African Wildlife Foundation which is helping the successful delivery of this initiative.
- This announcement today is an important step in our commitment to unlocking the new and innovative investment models needed to effectively protect our most beautiful landscapes and wildlife for the benefit of the Ugandan people. By inviting conservation-motivated investors to help build a ‘nature-based economy’, we will rehabilitate and manage Uganda’s network of Protected Areas while delivering economic growth.
- I am tasking the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities together with the Giants Club to collaborate in the delivery of the Investment Forum in October 2017.
- As part of the preparations for delivering the forum, I am today officially launching the “Uganda Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum”.
The Forum is aimed at launching a new initiative to attract tourism into Uganda and make it a destination for high-end paying clients.