How Entebbe Airport Cashed In On NAM, G77 Summits

by Christopher Kiiza
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Uganda, from January 15th to 20th, 2024 hosted the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government in Kampala, convening representatives from 120-member states. Following this, from January 21st to 23rd, the nation also hosted the Third South Summit, held within the framework of the Group of 77 plus China, a coalition of developing nations.

Beyond the diplomatic prestige that elevated Uganda’s global stature, enhancing its reputation as a diplomatic hub and fostering confidence among investors, Uganda’s only international airport, Entebbe, registered an influx of international delegates that sharply increased its traffic.

According to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson, Vianney Lugya, Entebbe International Airport recorded a total of 196,211 international passengers in January 2024, of which 99,216 were arriving passengers while 96,995 were departing passengers.

This reflects an average of 6,329 passengers per day, the second highest figure to be recorded in a single month after the 6,418 passengers recorded per day in the previous month of December 2023.

“The rise in January 2024 passenger traffic [is] partly attributed to Uganda’s hosting of NAM and G77 plus China Summits in January 2024,” said Lugya,

The airport facilitated a total of 1,918 delegates to the Summits, which according to Lugya, certainly contributed to a rise in traffic.

In relation to cargo, Entebbe International Airport recorded 1,579 metric tons of imports, and 3,604 metric tons of exports making a total of 5,183 metric tons in January 2024.

The milestones registered by the airport are not only beneficial to Uganda’s civil aviation, but the entire country’s economy.

The rise in passenger and cargo traffic, and the successful hosting of high-profile events (NAM and G77 plus China Summits) put Entebbe on the global map, showcasing its capacity and expertise in handling large-scale passenger and cargo movements. This positive exposure can attract new airlines, potentially leading to the addition of new routes and increased connectivity – a crucial factor for attracting more international trade and investment.

The influx of delegates and their spending habits created a positive effect that benefited businesses beyond the airport. Hotels, restaurants, and retail stores experienced increased demand, contributing to the overall economic growth of the country.

Higher passenger volume translates directly to additional revenue for the airport, and other sectors of the economy. For instance, the tourism sector benefits from more visitors, leading to increased spending on accommodations, transportation, and attractions, further contributing to the country’s economic growth and development.

The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), CEO Lilly Ajarova called on Summits delegates to explore the natural wonders of “beautiful” Uganda and experience the diverse and unique culture that make it a truly special destination.

Ajarova’s message to the delegates read, “Uganda is a beautiful country dotted with fresh water lakes and rivers, beautiful sceneries, unique tourism attractions, rich heritage and offers amazing business opportunities. Our country’s rainforests are a home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with plenty of incredible flora and fauna.”

She added: “It is home to over 50% of the African bird species as well as the beautiful snowcapped Rwenzori mountains situated astride the equator. The transboundary mighty river Nile begins its journey right here in the Pearl of Africa. You can enjoy white water rafting, kayaking and bungee jumping on river Nile and Lake Victoria. Uganda is home to over 65 tribes with exciting culture to learn and experience.”

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