As Parliament ties the loose ends to preparations for the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) due in September, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has made a case for Ugandans to tap into the immense opportunities the symposium will provide.
The Parliament of Uganda will host the conference between September 22-29, 52 years since a similar one took place in Kampala.
While meeting media managers in Kampala on Friday to brief them about the impending summit, Kadaga cautioned against ‘sensational’ reporting, saying it quite often scares would-be visitors to Uganda.
The meeting with media managers was graced by MPs Jalia Bintu, Jacob Oboth-Oboth, Paula Turyahikayo and Paul Amoru, the chairperson of the media publicity committee. “My call to you, media managers, is to highlight the potential benefits to our people.
I call upon you to be our ambassadors as we showcase Uganda to the world,” Kadaga said. The Speaker said the conference is expected to attract about 1,000 delegates from 54 countries.
Kadaga said the organisers of the conference are planning to set up special places for Ugandans to do business during the summit. “Conferences like this lead to the creation of jobs, both temporary and permanent.
These extra jobs create a multiplier effect within the economy,” she noted.
Among the issues that are up for discussion, Kadaga said, are climate change, youth unemployment, innovations in Parliament and the role of parliaments in facilitating people with disabilities.
Other issues include the challenge of urbanisation, separation of powers and post-legislative scrutiny.
With a fertility rate of over 5%, Uganda, just like many developing countries, is grappling with a youth bulge in its demographics.
And how to turn this youth bulge into a demographic dividend is at the centre of many economic and social policies being implemented by the Government.
The Commonwealth membership pool is as diverse as the reaches of the British Empire days.
Therefore, membership to the September conference will attract delegates from Africa, Asia, Australia, British Islands, Canada, Caribbean India, South East Asia and the Americas.
As head of the Commonwealth, Kadaga said, Queen Elizabeth, who also doubles as patron of the group, has been officially invited.
But if the Queen does not show up, President Yoweri Museveni, who is deputy patron (as head of state of hosting country), will preside over the conference.
Over the years, Uganda has hosted a number of high-profile conferences, including the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2011 and Commonwealth Youth Parliament last year.