Uganda’s zeal to become the “meetings capital of Africa” has gone a notch higher with the latest approval from a Zimbabwean London-based and Africa’s eighth billionaire- Strive Masiyiwa that the facility becomes ‘Official African Conference Centre’ in Africa.
The tycoon who is the Founder and Chairman of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless and valued at US$2.3 billion by Forbes, talked good of Speke Resort Munyonyo and the Commonwealth Resort, saying the expansive structures are the best he has seen anywhere in Africa.
“Why don’t we declare this venue; this site, the official African Conference Centre?” Said Masiyiwa who was applauded by guests at the just ended Africa Now Conference 2019 which was opened and closed by President Museveni.
The conference that run from March 12-13, was jointly hosted by Speke Resort Munyonyo and the adjoining Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo under the theme, “Towards a secure, integrated and growing Africa”. It attracted over 1,000 delegates that included among others, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia; William Samoei Ruto, the Vice President of Kenya and Samia Hassan Suluhu, the Vice President of Tanzania.
Other high profile guests and speakers included Mr Rob Shuter, CEO MTN Group, and Mr Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
“I go all over Africa to conferences and in big hotels and we go to the basements and we come to this amazing venue…thank you very much for organizing it. I will come every year if you want,” said Masiyiwa.
Built on an expansive 100 acres by the breezy shores of Lake Victoria, both Speke Resort Munyonyo and Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo have 450 tastefully finished rooms and 25 international standard conference rooms.
“I go all over Africa to conferences and in big hotels and we go to the basements and we come to this amazing venue…thank you very much for organizing it. I will come every year if you want,” he said.
Recently, Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo and Speke Resort Munyonyo won the coveted 2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards regional and country categories respectively.
The Ruparelia Group recently announced plans to construct a 5-star Speke Resort and Convention Centre, in Entebbe.
When it is completed, the facility will be a exquisite addition to the group’s portfolio of other luxury and hospitality facilities that include: Speke Resort and Conference Centre, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Kabira Country Club, Speke Hotel, Dolphin Suites, Tourist Hotel, Forest Cottages, Speke Resort Bujagali Falls and the recently expanded Speke Apartments.
In the past years, Uganda has seen a sharp rise in tourist arrivals from 945,899 in 2010 to 1,322,522 in 2016 translating into a 107 percent increment in earnings, from US$662 million to US$1,371 million targets to earn US$2.7 billion by next year.
Among other tourism sub-sectors, Uganda is looking to become the “meetings capital of Africa” earning a chunk from the lucrative meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions (MICE) market, but is facing considerable competition from Kenya and most recently Rwanda.
Uganda’s hotel sector has recently had a rise of new high end and mid-level facilities and according to Jean Byamugisha, the Executive Director at Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) by end of 2018, there was an estimated over 6,000 accommodation facilities in the country offering about 410,000 rooms and 487,000 beds.