OP-ED: Lake Victoria is our Resource, We Should Appreciate it

The state-of-art magnificent Speke hotel being constructed at the shores of Lake Victoria

With a surface area of approximately 59,947 km2 (23,146 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, the world’s largest tropical lake, and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area after Lake Superior in North America. In terms of volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth-largest continental lake, containing about 2,424 km3.

Just like Egypt has used the Nile basin to create more jobs for its countrymen and women through fishing, farming, transport, tourism industry, etc, we should also be in the same position to do the same on Lake Victoria than keeping it as a museum discovered by John Speke in late1880s

This God-given treasure to us has prime settlement areas in Uganda like Entebbe, Jinja, and Kampala. Kenya has Kisumu, Kindu, and Homa while Tanzania has Bukoba and Kendu bay. These places have a great potential to attract tourists if well developed. Kenya has investors who have harnessed this like; Lake Victoria safari village, Rusinga blue Ridge hotel.. etc

In Uganda, we also have Speke resort Munyonyo, Serena kigo to mention but a few. However, we need to put up more hotels in order to multiply the lake’s economic benefits. We need more sophisticated hotels which can give customers more experience and fun like the planned one at Sese gateway beach. Because the more tourists have a better experience and more stay in Uganda, the more they stay here longer, spending more money in our country hence more jobs for youths. We should actually put a reason why a tourist should stay here longer than going to Zanzibar to enjoy water breezes.

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As a private sector activist and economist, I was disheartened to see NEMA, a government Environment regulator, tussling in the media with the Ruparelia group investor, who is trying to establish one of the best $100m hotel facility at Sese gateway beach on Entebbe road! It defeats common sense when our current crop of managers in an important position don’t use their boardrooms for dialogue than tainting investors’ reputation which has adverse effects, yet the investor is establishing a very crucial Asset to the economy.
This bad habit can even affect our Foreign Direct Investment unless when President Yoweri Museveni prevails over NEMA with their excesses.

Gulf investors have found a panacea in Egypt to adopt a capitalistic agriculture production that prioritises investment in large-scale modernised farming for export. This is primarily because Egypt accepted to exploit its water resource of the Nile basin for her livelihood and competitive advantage.

So, we should borrow a leaf from Egypt because Uganda is my country in the millennium shining as new as can be. We already have good environmental policies and laws in place but the problem is the implementors. We have the means to mitigate environmental effects but as we develop our motherland.

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I care and you should do, and that is the bottom line.
Let’s support responsible and sustainable investments in our country.

Ben Ssebuguzi is an entrepreneur, economist and Secretary general of Uganda poor youth movement.

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