[Strike on camp for displaced women and children kills at least five and wounds scores, say witnesses and an aid group. A Kenyan air strike on a camp packed with displaced women and children has killed at least five people and wounded 45, mostly women and children, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an aid agency, said.]
Welcome to Rwanda, where cleanliness is mandatory
By David Dagan, Foreign Policy /www.edmontonjournal.com/October 30, 2011
Pessimists wonder if spic-and-span success also sweeps democracy under the rug
The first greeting travelers encounter when they step off the plane at Kigali International Airport is a large sign declaring: “Non-biodegradable polyethylene bags are prohibited.”
Welcome to the capital of Rwanda, where cleanliness and order prevail. Trash is hard to find, even on the dirt roads outside the main arteries. Vendors have been banished from the sidewalks. And plastic bags? Walking down the street with one could cost you more than $150, while store owners found stocking them face six to 12 months in prison.
All this housekeeping makes Rwanda a pleasant place to visit. But it also raises the question: Does such a poor country really need so much spit and polish? And why scrub with such a heavy hand?
Rwanda is landlocked, hilly, and crowded. The Massachusetts-sized country exports coffee and tea, but otherwise has few of the natural resources that have blessed – and more often cursed – some of its neighbours. Despite these obstacles, the government says it wants to lift Rwanda into middle-income range by 2020. The strategy is to skip over the industrialization stage and transform Rwanda into a service economy (Singapore is often cited as an example). Miles of fibre-optic cable have been laid throughout the country. The government has also invested heavily in its population. Virtually all Rwandans have health insurance, and the country has made remarkable progress in beating back malaria. This focus on people has captured the imagination of ordinary Rwandans. As one man told me, gesturing toward his children, their education is what will pull Rwanda out of poverty. “This is our vision,” he said.
Cleanliness is no small part of that vision. Kigali Mayor Fidèle Ndayisaba checked off the reasons why for me recently in his downtown office. Basic sanitation is obviously a prerequisite for public health. People working in a comfortable environment will also think better, Ndayisaba added, and an attractive Kigali is more likely to draw in foreign visitors and investors.
More generally, Rwandan leaders seem to clearly understand what many mayors of struggling American cities have also realized: Image matters in economic development. If Rwanda wants to become a modern centre of IT and finance, it has to look like one. And in a continent plagued by corruption, leaders here see Kigali’s spotlessness as a symbol of their commitment to fighting graft.
“We want to be clean in everything,” Ndayisaba said. “To have people clean in mind, clean just for sanitation, and – investors get clean money.”
And so, Kigali is miles away from the chaos that envelops most developing-world metropoles. Motorcycle taxis are ubiquitous, but so are the extra helmets that drivers are required to have their passengers wear. Medians and parks along the main thoroughfares are beautifully manicured. Warning signals built into the sidewalks at bus stops blink like Christmas lights. The city centre is mooned over by an army of broom-wielding street sweepers. More ominously, soldiers and policemen line the major streets at rush hour.
The centrepiece of the clean campaign is doubtless umuganda, a monthly day of mandatory community service. The tasks are varied, but often involve litter removal and other beautification projects. Politicians are not exempt: Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, recently laboured with residents of a Kigali neighbourhood to prepare construction of a school building. Rwandans must have their umuganda participation certified on a card by local officials. Without that document, they can be denied services at government offices.
Even in poor neighbourhoods, which tend to lie at the bottom of Kigali’s many hills, the poverty appears less abject than in other African capitals. Streets are free of sewage, and the poor here live almost universally in mudbrick huts, which seem less haphazard than the shacks of other cities. Many households also make some effort to screen their property with plants or fencing.
Kigali, in other words, is upending the images that visitors from rich countries often associate with extreme poverty.
“We are convinced that cleanliness is not only for Western countries,” Ndayisaba told me.
Everybody in Kigali seems to be on a mission, whether it’s the workers carting goods about in wheelbarrows or the uniformed schoolchildren heading to and from classes. Begging is extremely rare, and there are few signs of homelessness.
This absence of explicit human misery may be a function of Rwanda’s emphasis on social services. But not only.
As Ndayisaba put it: “There are some who just are street people because they are irresponsible or because they are drug consumers. We take them; we bring them (into) re-education centers.”
Kigali residents who are considered vagrants are subject to arrest and confinement in these centres, including one on a remote island in Lake Kivu. The conditions of their detention are unclear: A New York Times reporter visiting the island in 2010 described a grim camp whose residents included children under 18, but the Rwandan government angrily denounced his story.
Residents are sent to the centres without trial; a spokesman for Ndayisaba said the decision to commit a detainee is made by a team of social workers as a last resort.
The mayor himself was unapologetic about the policy, which he said applies to those considered irresponsible, but not to the sick. “When you can’t take decisions for your (own) good,” he said, “we take it for you.”
The questions raised by Rwanda’s push for pleasant streets mirror the larger debate about the country’s development path.
On the one hand, Rwanda is a shining success story in the world of international development. Real GDP more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 (to a nominal value of $5.6 billion), according to World Bank data; aid from foreign governments shot up almost as quickly.
The World Bank gives Rwanda high marks for making it easier for entrepreneurs to set up shop, and the country has won accolades for improvements to its health system. Corruption is relatively rare.
But on the other hand, politically, the country is on an autocratic slide. It is rated among the world’s least hospitable environments for journalists, and opposition politicians hardly have it better. Kagame, who has essentially run Rwanda since his forces won the civil war in 1994, was re-elected president in 2010 with more than 90 per cent of the vote.
Optimists can hope that the Kagame government’s progressive economic policies will end up providing essential fuel for a genuine democracy movement – an educated populace, a solid middle class, and a society that has healed the social rifts of the 1994 genocide. Pessimists may wonder whether economic success will instead legitimate the continuation of one-party rule that glosses over divisions rather than repairing them.
Meanwhile, Kigali’s streets will remain spic and span. Rwanda will continue wooing foreign capital. And leaders will do their best to ensure visitors get the message that this is a place where things work. Step out of the airport – perhaps having left your plastic bags with a friendly but firm customs official – and one of the first signs you will see declares: “Investment Yes. Corruption No.”
Rwanda, SA back Kenya operation in Somalia
By PPS/ www.nation.co.ke/Posted Sunday, October 30 2011
Rwanda and South Africa on Sunday vowed to support Kenya’s military offensive against Somalia militia Al-Shabaab.
President Paul Kagame and President Jacob Zuma affirmed their support of military action against Al-Shaabab saying the extremists’ cross-border criminal activities violated recognised international protocols.
“Rwanda is ready and willing to provide any support Kenya will require to win the war against the Al-Shaabab,” said President Kagame.
President Mwai Kibaki said Kenya’s invocation of the relevant United Nations Charter against continued aggression by Al-Shaabab militants was in self-defence.
At separate meetings in Perth, Australia, the leaders discussed Kenya’s joint military operation with the Transition Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. (READ: Kenyan army in for ‘mother of all battles’)
They condemned attacks by Al-Shaabab militants and said interference in Kenya’s interests by aggressors had a direct bearing on their countries and the Indian Ocean coastal region.
They urged the international community to show more commitment to the fight against terrorism and religious extremists.
Rwanda and South Africa become the latest African countries to support Kenya’s military action against the Al-Shaabab.
On Saturday, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania said his country backed efforts by regional, continental and international bodies to stabilise Somalia and the Horn of Africa region. (READ: Tanzania backs Kenya’s operation in Somalia)
The leaders spoke in Perth, Western Australia where they are attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
At the meeting, piracy was identified as one of the challenges facing the development of Commonwealth countries. (READ: Political stability in Somalia key to ending piracy)
CHOGM leaders lauded efforts by Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, The Maldives and Mozambique to fight piracy off their coastal boundaries.
RDC: 39 morts dans deux accidents de la route au Katanga
dimanche 30 octobre 2011/ www.rtbf.be/ Belga
Deux accidents de la route ont fait près de quarante morts ce week-end dans la province du Katanga (sud-est de la République démocratique du Congo), a rapporté la radio onusienne Okapi.
L’accident le plus grave s’est produit dimanche matin sur la route Bunkeya-Lwambo, lorsqu’un camion a percuté un manguier avant de se renverser, à près de 40 kilomètres de Likasi (Katanga).
Trente-trois personnes sont mortes et treize autres ont été blessées, a précisé Radio Okapi, parrainée par l’ONU.
Les passagers se rendaient au lancement de la campagne électorale d’un candidat aux élections législatives du 28 novembre.
Les rescapés ont indiqué que le chauffeur était ivre et roulait à grande vitesse lorsqu’il a perdu le contrôle de son véhicule.
Samedi déjà, six personnes étaient mortes dans une collision frontale entre deux camions sur la route reliant Lubumbashi, le chef-lieu du Katanga, à Kasumbalesa, la ville située à la frontière avec la Zambie, à une centaine de kilomètres plus au sud.
Les victimes sont les deux occupants d’un semi-remorque – le chauffeur et son convoyeur, tous deux de nationalité zimbabwéenne – et les quatre occupants de l’autre camion, selon Radio Okapi.
La police de circulation routière (PCR) a attribué cette collision à la surcharge, à un excès de vitesse et à la mauvaise visibilité dans le virage où il s’est produit.
Les accidents de la route sont fréquents en RDC, en raison du mauvais état des pistes et des véhicules, souvent surchargés en passagers installés en équilibre sur les marchandises, et de l’imprudence de certains chauffeurs.
Elections en RDC: la société civile condamne les incidents violents à Mbuji-Mayi
Lundi 31 octobre 2011 /Xinhua
KINSHASA (Xinhua) — La Société civile congolaise a deploré dimanche les incidents survenus vendredi à Mbuji Mayi, chef-lieu de la la province du Kasaï Oriental, dans le centre-est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC).
La société civile congolaise a dénoncé les violences utilisées par la police pour réprimer les manifestations de militants de l’Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS) à Mbuji Mayi, lors du premier jour de la campagne électorale en prélude des élections du 28 novembre prochain.
Selon des sources proches des gouverneurs de la province du Kasaï Orientale, ces violences ont fait un mort et plusieurs blessés.
“Plusieurs biens dont les résidences des dignitaires de la Majorité présidentielle et le véhicule du gouverneur de province ont été détruits par les manifestants”, a affirmé un proche du gouverneur de la province du Kasaï Oreintale.
L’UDPS a dénoncé pour sa part le recours à la violence de la police pour réprimer la manifestation de ses militants. Le secrétaire général de ce parti, Jacquemin Shabani, a accusé la police d’utiliser des balles réelles contre les partisans du parti d’Etienne Tshisekedi, candidat à l’élection présidentielle.
“La marche avait un caractère pacifique et était aussi organisée pour revendiquer des élections libres, transparentes et démocratiques”, a-t-il souligné.
Selon lui, la police a également arrêté des dizaines de membres de l’UDPS à Mbuji-Mayi.
Dans un communiqué publié dimanche, le représentant spécial du secrétaire général des Nations Unies en RDC, Roger Meece, a demandé au gouvernement congolais d’ouvrir immédiatement une enquête sur l’incident de Mbuji Mayi pour en établir la responsabilité.
Elections 2011 en RDC : Mission quasi-impossible pour la CENI
Il serait cependant erroné de conclure que c’est le “trop plein” de candidatures à la députation nationale (18.500) qui serait l’épicentre du problème. C’est sans doute un des problèmes.
A vingt-huit jours de l’élection présidentielle et des députés nationaux, les 124.000 urnes à déployer dans les 62.000 bureaux de vote – dans un territoire quatre fois plus grand que la France – n’étaient pas encore réceptionnées par la Commission électorale nationale indépendante (Ceni). Fabriquées en Chine, ces «boîtes» arrivent au compte-gouttes. Vendredi 29 octobre, la Ceni a reçu un premier lot de 12.000 urnes. Les consultations politiques majeures du 28 novembre prennent désormais la tournure d’une «mission impossible». Le président de la Ceni, Daniel Mulunda Ngoy Nyanga, paraît décidé à entretenir l’incertitude. Jusqu’à quand ? En tous cas, le doute est plus que jamais permis sur la capacité de la Ceni a organisé les deux scrutins dans le respect des délais légaux.
Livraison au compte-gouttes
La Ceni a reçu «enfin» un premier lot de 12.000 urnes. L’«événement» a eu lieu à Lubumbashi. Il a été annoncé non pas par Daniel Mulunda Ngoy Nyanga, le président du Bureau de cette Commission, mais par le vice-président Jacques Djoli Es’Engekeli. Cette «délégation de responsabilité» ressemble bien à une dérobade. Un aveu implicite de quasi-échec. Selon Djoli, un deuxième lot était attendu les jours suivants à Kinshasa. Au total, «pratiquement dix vols sur Kinshasa et six sur Lubumbashi», a-t-il souligné. Djoli d’ajouter : «Nous faisons de tout notre mieux pour que nous puissions respecter le calendrier». Ces propos empreints d’une modestie inattendue tranche avec l’optimisme béat affiché encore récemment par le numéro un de la Ceni. Et pourtant.
«Les élections auront bel et bien lieu le 28 novembre». C’est l’annonce faite le mercredi 21 septembre dernier par le président de la Ceni. L’homme s’adressait à un groupe de diplomates africains en poste à Kinshasa, venu le rencontrer à Lubumbashi. Le “pasteur Daniel” n’a pas manqué de signaler que 90.000 urnes sur les 186.000 commandées en Chine étaient attendus le dimanche 23 octobre dans la capitale. Promesse non-tenue. Le miracle n’a pas eu lieu. Notons que les matériels électoraux ont été commandés auprès de trois pays : l’Allemagne, la Chine et le Liban. Au cours de cette entrevue avec les ambassadeurs africains Mulunda confiera à ses interlocuteurs que la Ceni «a hérité d’un processus électoral confronté à plusieurs difficultés d’ordre logistique».
Lors du déjeuner de presse animé le 23 septembre dernier, à Bruxelles, par le président de la Ceni et son adjoint, les deux hommes annonçaient que les urnes, les isoloirs et les kits électoraux ont déjà été commandés. le numéro un de la Ceni précisera que ces «matériels non sensibles se trouvent déjà au port de livraison». Etrangement, il a donc un mois, jour pour jour, pour qu’un premier lot de ces «objets» atteignent finalement le sol congolais. Quid du déploiement sur le terrain? Lors de cette rencontre, Mulunda avait ajouté qu’«il ne reste plus qu’à commander les matériels sensibles». C’est-à-dire les bulletins de vote.
Mulunda investi d’une «mission» ?
Depuis plusieurs semaines, des «rumeurs» persistantes font état d’un possible «découplage» des deux scrutins précités. Comme pour jeter un pavé dans la marre politique, un kabiliste nommé Félix-Marie Kasongo Niembo, vice-président de l’UDCN (Union des démocrates pour la concorde nationale) de son état, lançait, via une dépêche de l’ACP datée du 12 octobre, que «le découplage des élections présidentielles et législatives de 2011 ne peut être en aucun cas un handicap au bon déroulement du scrutin». Réagissant à ce qui ressemble bien à un «ballon d’essai», Tharcisse Loseke Nembalemba, membre du cartel “Dynamique Tshisekedi Président” (DTP), de rétorquer que le candidat Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba «n’y verrait aucun inconvénient». Un avis non partagé à l’UNC (Union pour la Nation Congolaise) de Vital Kamerhe ainsi qu’à l’UFC (Union des forces du changement) de Léon Kengo wa Dondo. Mulunda, lui, reste imperturbable : “(…), il n’y aura ni découplage des élections du 28 novembre 2011, ni report des élections comme certaines rumeurs l’annonçaient déjà». Il l’a dit dans la capitale belge.
En séjour en Afrique du Sud, Mulunda semble avoir perdu ses certitudes claironnées lors du déjeuner de presse cité précédemment. L’homme n’éiait plus certain d’organiser les élections attendues dans les délais constitutionnels. Il a évoqué le jeudi 20 octobre la possibilité de «découpler» les deux opérations électorales. Motif : les bulletins de vote pour l’élection des députés nationaux n’ont pas encore été imprimés. En revanche, le problème ne se poserait guère pour la présidentielle dont les prétendants sont au nombre de onze.
Il serait cependant erroné de conclure que c’est le “trop plein” de candidatures à la députation nationale (18.500) qui serait l’épicentre du problème. C’est sans doute un des problèmes. «En réalité, commente un confrère kinois joint dimanche au téléphone, le président de la Ceni se croit tenu par une obligation de résultat. Ce résultat se résume à la réélection du président Joseph Kabila. Pour Ngoy Mulunda, c’est ça le plus important. Tout le reste est dérisoire. Mulunda, qui a reçu près de 800 millions de dollars venant d’autres sources que le Trésor public, s’estime investi d’une mission.» Procès d’intention ?
Uganda opposition leader arrested for walking
KASANGATI, Uganda (AP) — Authorities arrested the leader of Uganda’s political opposition on Monday while he was walking on the road with his supporters, a police spokeswoman said.
Opposition politician Kizza Besigye has been leading “walk to work protests” this year and the protest marches often end with his arrest. President Yoweri Museveni has been in power 25 years, and Besigye and others accuse his regime of incompetence and corruption.
Some of the marches have turned violent with protesters throwing rocks. Police have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and nine people were killed earlier this year.
Anne Mugisha, a top Besigye aide, labeled Monday’s arrest “an abduction” because she said Besigye was taken to an unknown location.
“He was taken to Kasangati police station. From there he was pushed into a vehicle which sped away very fast. So to us it was more of an abduction than an arrest,” Mugisha said.
Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba, though, said Besigye was taken to the criminal investigations department of the police headquarters in nearby Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Nabakooba said that Besigye was walking along the road with more than 20 people and was thus disturbing traffic.
“He walked with over 20 people including journalists from his home. Police stopped him when he was on the road and advised him not to walk with such a big number of people on the road because it disturbs traffic but Besigye insisted that he had to walk to wherever he wanted,” she said.
Kenya, Uganda to Boost Rates as Currencies Slide, Economists Say
By Johnstone Ole Turana /www.bloomberg.com/ Oct 30, 2011.
Kenya and Uganda may boost borrowing costs by as much as 2 percentage points each tomorrow to bolster their currencies and curb soaring inflation, economists said.
Njuguna Ndung’u, governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, will raise the central bank rate to a record 12.75 percent, according to the median estimate of four economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The forecasts ranged between 50 basis points and 200 basis points. Uganda’s Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile will probably increase the key lending rate by 2 percentage points to 22 percent, according to Standard Chartered Plc.
Kenya’s shilling has slumped 19 percent against the dollar this year, the biggest decline of more than 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg, as the worst drought in six decades boosted inflation and the central bank was slow to tighten monetary policy. The central bank of Uganda and Kenya pushed up their lending rates by 4 percentage points each last month.
“A bias toward further tightening is likely to tame inflationary pressure which is being driven by earlier easy access to credit,” Aly Khan Satchu, head of Rich Management, an investment adviser for wealthy individuals, said in a phone interview from Nairobi. “The recent rains will ease food availability with the possibility of inflation plateauing.”
Uganda’s shilling has dropped 12 percent against the dollar this year, the third worst-performing African currency after South Africa’s rand and Kenya’s shilling.
Kenya’s Monetary Policy Committee will publish its decision in an e-mailed statement tomorrow, while Uganda’s central bank will hold a press conference at 10:15 a.m. in Kampala.
Central bank governors from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, which makes up the East African Community, agreed on Oct. 12 to coordinate their actions to tighten monetary policy and limit volatility in their currencies. Kenyan inflation reached 18.9 percent in October, while consumer prices surged 28.3 percent in Uganda in September.
“The worsening inflation profile calls for more decisive action from the Central Bank of Kenya,” Razia Khan, head of Africa economic research at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a note to clients.
Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, which raised its key lending rate by 2.75 percentage points to 12 percent on Oct. 10, have bucked a global trend by boosting borrowing costs to protect their currencies. Brazil, Turkey, Switzerland, Israel and Indonesia have cut borrowing costs since August to support their economies as a debt crisis in Europe threatens the global recovery.
Kenya’s economy contracted in the second quarter by a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent as dry weather crimped agricultural production, which makes up a quarter of output in the world’s largest grower of black tea. Uganda’s central bank has lowered its economic growth projection for the year through June 2012 to 5 percent from 6 percent.
“The upward trend in inflation is expected to continue until the first quarter of next year due to a weaker shilling and food-supply constraints, hence a rate hike will be appropriate” in Kenya, Peter Wachira, senior investment manager at PineBridge Investments LLC’s East Africa unit, said in a phone interview from Nairobi.
Uganda committed to tackling inflation :IMF
Mon Oct 31, 2011 / Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Uganda clearly grasps the risks of rising inflation and is committed to continue tightening monetary policies to “break the back” of inflation expectations, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday.
In a review of Uganda’s economy, the IMF said inflation had risen sharply in recent months and reached almost 30 percent year on year.
The IMF cautioned there were “now signs that these shocks are beginning to spill over to underlying price movements, as core inflation is almost as high as headline, and nonfood inflation is up to 18 percent”.
It said higher prices were mainly due to a spike in regional food prices in the Horn of Africa, currently battling a severe drought and famine, and global financial volatility.
“Slower rates of private sector credit growth, including lending in foreign currency, will with time feed through to aggregate demand and thereby help to tame inflation,” the IMF said.
“The authorities also recognize that the budget will need to be supportive of the disinflation effort,” it added.
Dissecting Uganda’s tourism problem: what is at stake?
Oct 30, 2011/ www.eturbonews.com
Tourism has not developed as expected despite the country’s potential and tourism attractions. The strength of Uganda’s tourism industry is in its unspoiled wilderness attractions such as the Mountain Gorillas, the rich cultures, and special combination of nature and culture.
In the past, Uganda’s tourism sector has had challenges related to insecurity in some parts of the country, however, this has been solved and Uganda is now generally a peaceful destination though there remains the biggest challenge of improving Uganda’s image internationally.
To date, many Ugandans get surprised by the questions they are asked when they are attending exhibitions or international meetings. The people out there still think of Uganda as the country of Idi Amin; to many people, Uganda represents dying of HIV Aids, war, corruption, etc.
Rarely will they start with the “Land of the River Nile,” the “Land of the Mountain Gorillas,” or the “Pearl of Africa,” as Winston Churchill christened it.
The above scenario just serves to show that Uganda has not rolled out its PR machinery, and this is at stake for Uganda – improving its image.
In the case of Rwanda, it is a younger tourist destination, but it has now surpassed Uganda in as far as marketing Rwanda as the only place to see mountain gorillas in Africa.
Rwanda recognizes that they don’t have much by way of tourism, but they acknowledge that their strength lies in their ability to creatively market so they are capitalizing on it.
At the beginning of 2008, Kenya was thrown into a tumultuous time for nearly three months, and this disrupted Kenya’s tourism industry to an extent that there were reportedly up to 91% cancellations, and this affected tourist arrivals, as well as the Kenyan economy.
However, the Kenya PR machinery was at work providing updates on the situation, and this provided a counter effect on all the media reports that tended to concentrate on only the negative things about the prevailing situation at the time.
After the civil unrest ended, the political machinery set to work to make promotions on the country – road shows and familiarization trips were sponsored for the big agents in the UK and USA. More funds were allocated to the marketing budget so as to revamp the efforts of promoting the destination. This had a great effect of quick-starting the recovery of Kenya’s tourism and economy.
Uganda has usually not responded whenever it has had negative publicity about whatever is happening there.
It has been said that nothing on the planet is new. Everything has always existed before, but it is just redressed and then re packaged as if it is new!
Uganda needs to turn to the drawing table and make comparative studies to review the strategies adopted by Uganda in the 1960s and modify them to position itself in the international tourism market now. Uganda is competing against new destinations and new products, so it is relevant that the products Uganda puts out are of quality and typically unique to Uganda.
According to the Balance of Payment Statistics by Bank of Uganda in the year 2001, tourism made up US$105 million, ahead of coffee with US$107 million. Again, several reports continue showing that Tourism has become the number one non-traditional foreign exchange earner in Uganda.
The World Tourism Organization reports a global growth in tourism, and it actually the fastest-growing sector of most economies. For the case of the 2001 statistics, these were based on only domestic tourism and business visitors to the national parks, without the leisure traveler featuring, however, the 2007 statistics are based on leisure travelers as well.
In Uganda, tourism had a growth rate of 21% from 1995–2010, with exception of the year 2009 when the world experienced a credit crunch.
Tourism promotion and marketing has been very limited because of insufficient funding allocation and because of not only personnel but also the different priorities for the government of Uganda.
Uganda has always relied on handouts from donors even though now it is positioning itself to be self reliant as per the 2010/2011 budget.
About a year ago, tourism was only mentioned as having boomed with no real statistics provided about its performance and then just next to it was the reports on a 15% growth for export of services. Now is the time to change focus and use tourism, which has the potential to bring in Forex.
With appropriate personnel/marketing, tourism may once again become the leading country-wide economic sector with even stronger economic impact than agriculture and industry in respect of foreign earnings.
The potential has already been demonstrated when a few years ago government formulated the ten-year tourism master plan and the private sector responded positively by investing in and putting up new facilities in various locations in Uganda. This has continued to be the case, but a number of problems still plague the sector and have inhibited its development.
Certain of these problems have been drastic and caused many facilities to go into liquidation, consequently preventing tourism from realizing its potential.
However, there is optimism in the sector now as we begin to see tourism development and investment by the private sector, which has gained confidence in the sector’s abilities. Stakeholders see the opportunity to accomplish what they would not have accomplished fifteen years ago.
Uganda lauds Kenya on Somalia mission
By Mudangha Kolyangha / www.monitor.co.ug/Posted Monday, October 31 2011
The Minister of Defence, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, has backed Kenya’s spirited move to attack the Somalia militant Islamist group, the al-Shabaab, that have claimed responsibility for a series of attacks and kidnappings of foreign tourists in Kenya, leaving at least five people dead and scores seriously injured since October 4.
Speaking during the thanksgiving and victory celebrations for Dr Jeremiah Mutwalante Twa-Twa as Iki-Iki MP in Budaka at the weekend, Dr Kiyonga said the move by the Kenyan government has been applauded by Ugandan government for supplementing AU-Amisom forces in fighting the al-Shabaab, who have also threatened to retaliate against the move.
“The decision taken by our sister country Kenya to join in the struggle to fight these militant islamist is a good gesture because they are becoming a security threat in the region, ”Dr Kiyonga said.
Since 2006, Somalia has faced an insurgency led by al-Shabaab, one of Africa’s most fearsome militant Islamist groups. Al-Shabaab controls much of southern Somalia and has claimed affiliation with al-Qaeda since 2007. The militants have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks that have rocked Somalia and most East African countries.
Last week, Kenya sent hundreds of its troops into southern Somalia to flush out the al-Shabaab following a spate of kidnappings. Somalia and Kenya reportedly signed a joint communique calling for “decisive action” against the insurgents. However, after signing the document, Somalia’s President, Sheik Sharif, criticised Kenya’s military offensive into his nation, which raised questions about how bilateral the military action was.
France, US join
Kenya has said the purpose of the operation was to support Somalia’s government in its battle against the al-Shabaab and that it plans to stay in Somalia until the threat of the insurgents has been “reduced.”
A Somali government spokesman said while Somalia welcomed assistance from Kenya, the Somali government’s territorial sovereignty must be ensured. France has said it would send equipment and logistical support to Kenya in its operation. The American Ambassador to Kenya, Scott Gration, indicated that the United States might also help in the operation.
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