Organizational Updates

AWF Joins Uganda in 59th Independence Day Celebrations

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As Uganda celebrates 59 years, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) joined in the country’s festivities organized by Uganda High Commission in Kenya with week-long activities that culminated on October 9, 2021. The showcase and discussions explored the country’s socio-economic and political progress, readiness for trade and investment, and the immense growth in tourism and education that has contributed to the region’s success.

Under the theme ‘Securing Uganda’s future through the promotion of Tourism and Education for Economic Development,’ the event provided an opportunity for different stakeholders to share their approaches and discuss how best to learn and adopt practical solutions that will scale up Uganda’s contributions towards regional and global commitments.

Fred Kwame Kumah, AWF’s Vice President of External Affairs, participated in a panel discussing the nexus between wildlife and tourism and enhancing the livelihoods of communities. The panel comprised key stakeholders from the tourism sector, including the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), and Uganda Airlines. They all shared their perspectives and approaches towards enhancing partnerships for a common purpose.

“The domestic and regional market has been ignored for far too long to the detriment of the sector’s financial margins, and of Africans’ experience of their own continent. The challenge is upon us to make Africa attractive to our citizens, who often choose to spend hard-earned money in other continents when the beauty and heritage of Africa wait to be explored. To enable domestic tourism to thrive, it is high time for a shift in mindset amongst tourism sector operators,” Kumah highlighted.

AWF was also a part of the hybrid exhibition aimed at building sustainable industrialization for inclusive growth, employment, and wealth creation. Several participants expressed the need to rethink how Uganda should market itself and position the various attractions and products more deliberately and strategically.  

“Working together as the East African Community is the best way to collaboratively move forward and Uganda is committed to ensuring that they contribute to the region’s success. Coherent studies have been made based on recent trends and how tourism contributes to the country’s GDP and this is why we need to prioritize this sector for we are yet to reach our full potential as a country,” emphasized Samora Machel Semakula, UTB Quality Assurance Manager.

Speakers encouraged the private sector to step and engage more deliberately to conserve the environment and facilitate societal growth as it is impossible to leave ecological services solely to the domain of government and conservation NGOs.