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Kenya and Uganda pledge to enhance bilateral trade

By Haniel Mengistu
Sunday March 31, 2024

The Uganda Consulate in partnership with the tourism stakeholders at the Kenyan coast will next month hold a four-day Ugandan culture and food festival as part of ongoing efforts to enhance tourism among the two East African neighbours.

The event, which will run from April 17 to April 20, seeks to expose the unique Ugandan products to a wider number of corporate Kenyans at the Coast, the youth and other regional and international tourists at the Kenya Coast.

The festival will have an array of events to be held at Diani Reef in Kwale, Ocean Beach in Malindi, Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi, and Fort Jesus in Mombasa.

A golf tournament will also be held at Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County, as part of the festival. At least 1,800 Kenyan and Ugandan tourism and business communities are expected to attend the festival in Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties.

Speaking during the launch of the festival in Mombasa, Ambassador Paul Mukumbya, the Consul General in Mombasa, said the Uganda Festival will be about celebrating Ugandan culture, and bringing Ugandans to the Kenya coast.

“We are trying to use culture and golf to grow the tourism numbers between our two countries. Since as we know Uganda is already the number two source market for Kenya in terms of visitors, and Kenya is the number one source market for Uganda again in terms of visitors,” said Mukumbya.

He added, “This is something on which we are building to grow the numbers to encourage regional tourism so that we also stop that seasonality of relying so much on the international arrivals.”

For three years in a row, the Uganda consulate in Mombasa has been organizing the tourism and business events to bring Ugandans to tap into the available opportunities in Mombasa.

“This partnership is built on the concept of complementarity between Uganda and the Kenya Coast, whereas the Kenya Coast has the very beautiful beaches and the historical sites, and in Uganda, we have the mountain gorillas, the chimpanzees, the adventure tourism on River Nile, the Kampala nightlife, the cultural and religious tourism at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine,” he said.

Others present during the Uganda Festival launch were Mombasa County Trade and Tourism Executive Osman Mohammed, Kenya Coast Tourists Association Chairperson Victor Shitakha, and Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers coast executive Dr Sam Ikwaye.

Shitakha said the conversation with the Ugandan consulate began in 2022 and it has now grown into an annual event.

“We need to get our people and youth to get involved and see what culture is all about so that we can grow. This is what we’re looking for, numbers. The numbers coming into Kenya from Uganda grew from 137,000 to 200,000 after our two conferences,” said Shitakha.

He added, “The numbers going from Kenya to Uganda grew up to about 350,000. We are the number one supplier of tourists. So, we are doing good for them, and we want them to come to Kenya as well. And that’s why this is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn about these cultural activities so that we can attract a lot more of them into Kenya.”


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