News Round-up

Uganda’s Tourism Likely to Suffer
Amos Wekesa, President of the Uganda Tourism Association, says that the economic tempest in the developed world has stripped the wallets of would-be safari-goers. Against previous projections of 30 to 40 percent growth in 2009, he says tourism, which alongside coffee is Uganda’s biggest foreign currency earner, may see revenues drop 20 to 30 percent from 2008’s US$450mn. Typical of many developing nations, Uganda’s tourism-dependent economy is likely to suffer heavily as cost-conscious holidaymakers opt for less exotic destinations.

Kenya: Big Winner in CU
Kenya has pre-empted the findings of a formal assessment of the performance of the five-year-old EAC CU and declared it the greatest beneficiary. The study covers the impact of the CU in terms of trade performance, revenue performance, investment flows, and elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and assessment of the institutional framework for implementation of the CU.

It is expected to show how each of the five member states of the EAC have been trading with one another in terms of trade volumes earned since the CU was launched in January 2005.

World Economic Forum
Kenya will host the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Africa meeting in 2010, which is always held in South Africa, the government announced. The announcement came as the Kenyan delegation concluded its high-visibility participation in the just concluded WEF meeting which was attended by more than 800 delegates from over 50 countries, including influential figures in politics, business, sport and civil society from around the African continent and the rest of the world.

The Prime Minister, Hon.Raila Odinga has declared that Kenya was now ready to do business with other African countries and the international community. He noted that the post election period with violence was now past after the successful formation of the grand coalition government.

EAC to Unveil Stimulus Plans
Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have been hard hit by the economic slowdown necessitating a fiscal stimulus expected to be announced in their coming budgets. After discussions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has allowed Tanzania and Rwanda to go ahead with the fiscal stimulus which involves a bigger budget deficit than has been the case in the recent past.

Tanzania can raise its deficit to 10.9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009-10 from 10.5 percent in 2008-09, while Rwanda can increase its deficit by an extra one percent of the GDP. For Uganda, the IMF said that it had concluded the fifth review under a three-year Policy Support Instrument (PSI) and noted that the global financial crisis was constraining economic activity to the extent that growth will be about half of the 9.5 percent registered over the past three years.