KAMPALA, Uganda–President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is expected to host more than 200 delegates at the Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa on Friday 6 October.
Heads of some of the world’s leading responsible tourism companies are arriving in Uganda alongside philanthropists and international financiers for a ground-breaking gathering aimed at safeguarding Uganda’s protected areas.
The Forum aims to find innovative ways for Uganda to finance the protection of its natural landscapes, and unique wildlife, with private sector partnerships.
The Ugandan Government together with the Giants Club and the United Nations Development Programme, has identified ten areas that it can offer for new investment.
“The Uganda ‘Giants Club Conservation and Tourism Investment Forum’ is aimed at launching a new initiative to attract tourism into Uganda. Tourism has distinguished itself as a productive sector with the ability to transform Uganda from a predominantly peasant society to middle income level,” President Museveni has said.
“The NRM Government shall ensure that incentives are created for the investors, both domestic and international, as part of the inward investment provided by them and under the Public Private Partnership Policy.” He added that Government has created this platform to link up domestic and international players to invest in Uganda’s tourism.
Among those to attend are George Osborne , Britain’s former finance minister, Alexander Lebedev, one of Russia’s richest businessmen, Erik Solheim , the executive director of UN Environment, and Richard Poulden , a Dubai-based financier who runs a series of multi-million dollar companies.
They will be joined by senior figures running tourism and conservation businesses specialising in low-impact, high-value operations dedicated to protecting environments and bringing greater benefits to local communities. They include: Karim Wissanji, Founder and CEO of Elewana Afrika, Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President for Africa and Europe, the Hilton Group, David Stogdale, Managing Director, Great Plains Conservation and Andrew Parker, Director of Conservation Development, Africa Parks.
“Uganda is truly a treasure in terms of the beauty and the biodiversity of its natural wildernesses, and their potential as economic assets to benefit the country as a whole,” said Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, the conservation charity behind the Giants Club, which is organising the Forum.
“What’s difficult is finding the money just to protect and maintain them, let alone develop them responsibly so they can fulfil that potential. That’s why we commend President Museveni, and his whole Government, for taking the innovative step of inviting the private sector here to see how they can become partners in the protection of Uganda’s conservation estate, to their own profit but also the country’s and its people’s.”