NAM & G77+China summits a vote of confidence for Uganda

Jan 14, 2024

Uganda will host the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, a forum of 120 member states from January 15-20, 2024, at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.

The Summit will be held at Speke Resort Munyonyo Conference Centre. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)

John Odyek
Journalist @New Vision


KAMPALA - The excellent peace and security have given the world confidence to enable Uganda to host the Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government.

Uganda will also host the Third South Summit, all in January 2024. 

This is an important milestone for Uganda diplomatically and politically. It gives the country important diplomatic visibility and some political weight of considerable magnitude in global affairs. 

Both associations represent the aspirations of people in the Global South whose voice is marginalised in the current international system. Uganda’s leadership of both associations comes at a critical time in world affairs. 

Uganda’s tourism sector will greatly benefit from the two upcoming international summits scheduled for January 2024. 

Uganda will host the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, a forum of 120 member states from January 15-20, 2024, at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.

The theme of the NAM summit is: ‘Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence’ 

Then from January 21-23 at the same venue, Uganda will host the Third South Summit organised under the framework of Group 77 and China, a loose alliance of developing countries. 

The theme for the Third Summit is: ‘Leaving no one behind’. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has warmly welcomed Heads of State and Government, Heads of Delegations and all delegates to the 19th Summit of NAM in Kampala, in January 2024. NAM is composed of 120 member states, 18 observer countries and 10 observer organisations. 

The Summit will be held at Speke Resort Munyonyo Conference Centre.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba said that 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. 

At the events, Uganda will assume the chairmanship of NAM for three years and G77 and China for one year, which Mulimba said will come along with a boost to the economy. 

“There are two websites developed for NAM and G77+China with a Menu “About Uganda" containing information related to investment opportunities and tourism. The events include a business forum that will facilitate direct business-to-business interaction and partnerships. 

Mulimba is hopeful that hosting the summits would enhance the positive image of Uganda and that potential economic and commercial benefits would accrue over the medium to long term. 

Uganda’s MPs have expressed optimism about Uganda hosting the summit. Abdu Katuntu (Independent, Bugweri County) observed that Uganda’s image internationally is continuously improving and predicted the economic benefits likely to accrue from the summits. 

“We hosted CHOGM, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, we are hosting these summits and the conference of commonwealth speakers”. 

These are very important meetings for Uganda’s economy. For example, Malaysia alone has asked to bring over 50 delegates for the speaker’s conference, the benefits will be immense,” Katuntu said. 

Lucy Nakyobe the Head of Public Service, Secretary to the Cabinet and chief executive officer for the National Organising Committee for the NAM Summit and the Third South Summit, indicated that it is worth noting that the endorsement for Uganda to hold these two summits is a vote of confidence in the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni.

It is also a show of confidence in Uganda’s multilateral engagements. 

Nakyobe disclosed that the main framework of the NAM outcome document is ready and this will be adapted. While the outcome document agreed for the Third Summit is accomplished. 

Who founded NAM? 

NAM was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia. 

As a condition for membership, the states of the Non-Aligned Movement cannot be part of a multilateral military alliance such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or have signed a bilateral military agreement with one of the “big powers” if it was “deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.” 

However, the idea of nonalignment does not signify that a state ought to remain passive or even neutral in international politics. On the contrary, from the founding of its stated aim has been to give a voice to developing countries and to encourage their concerted action in world affairs. 

Unlike the United Nations (UN) or the Organisation of American States, the Non-Aligned Movement has no formal constitution or permanent secretariat. All members of the Non-Aligned Movement have equal weight within its organisation.

The movement’s positions are reached by consensus in the Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government, which usually convenes every three years.

The administration of the organisation is the responsibility of the country holding the chair, a position that rotates at every summit. The ministers of foreign affairs of the member states meet more regularly in order to discuss common challenges, notably at the opening of each regular session of the UN General Assembly. 

One of the challenges of the Movement in the 21st Century has been to reassess its identity and purpose in the post-Cold War era.

The movement has continued to advocate for international cooperation, multilateralism, and national self-determination, but it has also been increasingly vocal against the inequities of the world economic order. 

Relevance of NAM after Cold War 

The NAM was founded with the view to advancing the interests of developing countries in the context of Cold War confrontation. In its first three decades, NAM played a crucial role in decolonization, the formation of new independent states and the democratisation of international relations. 

With the decline of the cold war regional conflicts and crises have not ended. Now NAM can play a meaningful role in the present international scenario to promote world peace and bring about nuclear arms control and disarmament by nuclear powers. 

The idea behind NAM is that less developed countries should avoid being dragged into conflicts between big powers. The best way for them to survive and thrive is to be non-aligned.

This gives them flexibility to relate to rival camps for trade and investment. It is also the best strategy for them to preserve their sovereignty and freedom of manoeuvre in the risky business of international affairs. 

What are the main objectives of the NAM? 

The objectives of the Non-Alignment movement were: To promote and encourage sustainable development through international cooperation. To defend international peace and security by solving disputes through peaceful means. 

Others are; maintaining peace, promoting economic growth, opposing colonialism and imperialism, opposing military alliances and nuclear weapons acquisitions, declaring the UN as the peacekeeping body and protecting human rights and the environment. 

The Pearl of Africa is blessed with undeniable natural beauty. In the west, the Rwenzori peaks reach towards the sky, the perfect challenge for bold explorers.

Across the nation, parks are home to some of the world’s most exotic animals and mammals such as; silverbacks, lions, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, chimpanzees, gorillas and countless others. 

Winding roads lead to places of grand beauty and unique cultures for those who dare to explore.  There’s a story at every turn, especially from our people, who are renowned for their warmth and charm. Delegates to the summit will definitely depart with good memories of Uganda. 

The world is undergoing a profound transformation, and the Global South is poised to play an increasingly significant role in shaping the global economic landscape.

Uganda has given NAM member states the leverage of its peace, security and stability to influence the vast global agenda. 

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