Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. – Michael Jordan
This year has ended with some profound and significant historical events…the death of Colonel Ghadaffi ─ (celebrated by some, regretted by those who benefited from his generosity), the wave of political changes in the Maghreb, the struggle and near collapse of western economies, not to mention the world economic downturn. Despite these hard economic times, Africa still presents vast opportunities.
This year, we saw a series of investment seminars across Europe, showcasing opportunities in mother Africa. However, the onus is on our leaders to create a level playing and conducive environment to attract investors to propel Africa’s economic status to comparable levels with the rest of the world. We’ve just celebrated the World Aids Day; this killer disease is still looming and claiming the lives of many of our people. Alarmingly, most of the donor countries have cut aid towards ARV provision to the poor African populations.
All was not too bad for Uganda in 2011, as it was named the number one tourist destination for 2012. This is stressed in the exclusive interview with Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Tourism in Uganda, who also accentuated the importance of the Diaspora and the role they can play as Uganda’s Ambassadors abroad. In this issue, Bank of Uganda is reaching out to the Diaspora and highlights the significant socio-economic contribution they make. Provisional estimates indicate that about US$768 million was remitted to Uganda in 2010. Thus, Ugandans are encouraged to remit their money through official channels, so that up-to-date data for better estimation of remittances can be obtained. In every issue, we serialise an article about the Diaspora making a difference and inspiring others.
This time, we selected Emmy Wasirwa who is at the forefront of revolutionising the liquefied gas retail industry in Uganda. Our second choice is Iryn Namubiru, a Ugandan artist based in France.
Despite being in the Diaspora, she has managed to win Uganda’s music industry as the best female artiste, clenching the PAM award Artiste of the Year 2011, not to mention other accolades. In an interview with Mark Perryman, MoneyGram’s boss in the UK, he stresses MoneyGram’s commitment and passion to supporting African communities through sponsoring various community initiatives.
Diasporans are returning to Africa in big numbers, and we at the Promota always advise people to plan well, before making that last journey back home. For those seeking financial support, read through the Promota, where we list various organisations offering advice and funding for projects. We at the Promota advocate strongly against bad traditional practices in Africa, like mutilation of children in traditional witchcraft practices.This was rubber stamped by Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Benin, where he urged Catholics to abandon traditional practices that clash with Christianity, which he said “liberates from occultism and vanquishes evil spirits.
” Forbes produced a list of Africa’s billionaires. Can we be surprised that former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi is among the richest in Africa, recognised as a billionaire? Whether he made his money legitimately and ethically, you are the judge! New Year’s tip from me: “Focus on solutions, not problems and Focus MORE on what worked in 2011.”