KITGUM: A 10-day business fair opened in Kitgum Municipality on Friday, April 15th, with entrepreneurs still erecting stalls where the exhibition displays will be staged.
Several exhibitors could be seen carrying goods to their various spots, but only a handful had started the actual display of their products by the close of Friday.
The annual event, organised under the theme “Restoration of Hope to Farmers through Smart Agribusiness”, is expected to attract 500 exhibitors from various districts and countries such as Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
So far, 167 exhibitors have registered to showcase their businesses at the event, which will end on April 25th.
Trade fairs were discontinued for two years during the partial lockdown of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest annual fair in the country is easily the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association show, usually held in Lugogo.
In the past, the greatest in the country used to be the one in Jinja. But owing to the collapse of industry, it also faded into insignificance.
Uganda is yet to recover its capacity to stage effective exhibitions. Its participation in shows overseas is still pitiful and pales in comparison with what Kenya and Rwanda put up when they go to exhibit abroad. It is usually the tourism sector that is sponsored by the government to exhibit abroad, but there is little to write home about from such.
So weak is Uganda’s promotion capacity that the country only woke up to the potential of its artist, Eddie Kenzo, after Kenya had appointed him its tourism ambassador for a year. Rwanda tends to hire effective Ugandan tourism operators as consultants to improve its tourism promotion.