Uganda is today basking in the international limelight as it hosts the 19th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the largest grouping of states worldwide after the United Nations.

This is one of the biggest global meetings Uganda is hosting after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007, and it shows that the country is increasingly becoming a destination for regional and international conferences.

By press time, 28 heads of state and the UN General Assembly president, Denis Francis, had confirmed attendance, according to the foreign affairs state minister, Henry Okello Oryem.

“There are 97 delegates who are coming for the NAM summit and they are coming with their delegations of about eight-10 people,” Oryem told New Vision yesterday.

Analysts say the five-day summit, which will end on Saturday, January 20, at the Speke Convention Centre Munyonyo, Kampala, comes at a time of growing frustration with the western-led world order because of widening differences over the Russian-Ukraine war, Israel-Palestine conflict, the fight against climate change and the global economic system.

This summit will be followed by that of G77+China conference, which will start on Saturday and end on Tuesday, January 23, at the same venue. Over 1,500 guests, including presidents, prime ministers, heads of government and other high-profile guests from mostly developing countries are expected at the two conferences.


NAM was founded in 1961 in the middle of a world divided by antagonism between the US and the former Soviet Union and the alliances they led.

It was created to advance the interests of developing countries and has since redefined itself as a movement for countries that are not aligned with any major power, with the end of the Cold War.

The movement now comprises 120 states, 18 observer countries and 10 observer organisations, while the group of G77+China, on the other hand, was established in June 1964 by 77 developing countries and it now has over 130 member states.

President Yoweri Museveni told the 27th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth in Kampala recently.

“I want to use those occasions as one of the third generation of the anti-colonial resistance fighters of Africa to put our humble ideas to the world. The gist of our ideas could be summed up in the slogan ‘down with philosophical, ideological and strategic shallowness’,” Museveni, who will for the next three years chair NAM, and G77+China for one year, on behalf of Uganda, said.

The President, who has been calling for the UN Security Council reforms that would give Africa permanent representation at the global top table, revealed in March last year that Uganda was picked to host the NAM summit because of its neutrality on international issues.

“Uganda was selected to host and the reason to select Uganda was because of our independent position in the world. We didn’t apply,” he said while addressing the National Resistance Movement parliamentary regional whips at State House, Entebbe.

As chair, Uganda is expected to play a key role in the decision-making process on the world’s geopolitical table and advance the economic and social objectives of developing countries, which represent 80% of the world’s population.


“This is an opportunity for Uganda to showcase its leadership within the NAM and G77+China countries by putting in place an outcome that will depict the relevance of the summits in the world order, considering the changing dynamics after the end of the Cold War. This is the time NAM can come out and stand very firmly and show its presence and influence as well as its capacity to be part of the world order,” Oryem said.

“We have over 100 investors that have come from the NAM member states that are willing to invest in this country and a team led by the ministries of trade and finance is going to present bankable projects,” Vincent Bagiire, the permanent secretary of foreign affairs ministry, said.

He said the first fundamental benefit of hosting NAM and the G77+China summits is the diplomacy dividend that Uganda will get. 

“We are going to have attention as a country for the next three years for chairing NAM as well as chairing the G77+China this whole year and that in many ways will attract tourists to our country. Chairing these institutions is extremely significant from the diplomatic viewpoint,” he said.

Bagiire also said Uganda will be in a position of influence and attract investors because there are countries whose heads of state have never come to Uganda.

“Now, these heads of state are going to come here on account of these two summits. That is the benefit because whenever you expose your country to foreigners, you create opportunities. And, indeed, there are one or two countries that will open embassies in Uganda on account of these two summits,” he said.

Bagiire also said the ordinary Ugandan will gain from the summit.

“I want to assure you that thousands of guests coming here are not carrying their food, they are going to eat food grown and sold by Ugandans and that is a benefit. They are coming to spend money in our country,” he said.


Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, said the benefits of not only hosting, but also chairing the two blocs are immense.

“Most of the NAM and G77 countries are developed and we can leverage this position (of chairing NAM and G77+China) to get foreign direct investments, but also benefits in areas of infrastructure and tourism. Most countries that have chaired NAM and G77 have leveraged this position to accrue benefits,” Ayebare, who is the deputy chairperson of the organising committee for the two summits, told the media recently.

John Mulimba, the foreign affairs state minister in charge of regional co-operation, said Uganda’s chairmanship of the two summits will provide a platform to market Uganda’s unique tourism and investment opportunities to a larger and wider community of international actors.

“There are two websites developed for NAM and G77+China with a menu ‘About Uganda’ containing information related to investment opportunities and tourism,” he said.

Mulimba said the events will include the trade and investment forum that will facilitate direct business-to-business interaction and partnerships.

Uganda is banking on this three-day East African Trade and Investment Forum, which starts today at Kampala Serena Hotel, to attract at least $1b (about sh3.7 trillion) worth of investments in various sectors of its economy that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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