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How Ugandan Hotels Are Killing Local Tourism and Hurting Growth?

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By Ian Ortega

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I don’t claim to be an expert on tourism but I can confidently claim to know when things are going wrong. Of late, I have been observing the Ugandan Hotel Industry. A few weeks back, I was at the Innovation Village in Ntinda. It’s described as a destination for the next BIG IDEAS in Fintech, Climate, Agric, Health, Diversity, Education and Media. Being one of the founders of BigEye Media, Innovation Village Kampala speaks right to me. The location is a grand creative space of various recycled furniture that brings home the African touch. I was impressed.

Yet, when I travel to all Ugandan Hotels, I am shocked to find the African touch lacking. It’s as though every Ugandan Hotel is trying its level best to become a better version of the Western Hotels. Right from the architecture to the decor, all Ugandan Hotels have nothing Ugandan about them.

Hotel room

So then it gets me wondering, where is the unique positioning for our hotel industry? One of the best places to find a unique placement is in the cuisines section. However most Ugandan Hotels don’t have a Ugandan menu per say. The few that do have a Ugandan menu have limited themselves to the basic buffet of local Ugandan foods blended with various other western dishes.

In the past while still young and energetic, I toyed with the idea of a Ugandan cookbook. Together with a friend, we had plans of capturing the various Ugandan foods in a book, with guidelines on how to prepare each of these dishes. We also had plans of having our own Ugandan Food Show. It was to air on one of the Ugandan TV stations and would capture our travels around different parts of Uganda, interacting with the culture and capturing the process of preparing all those unique Ugandan dishes. I never executed on those ideas. But I have chosen to put them in the public domain just in case someone gets to implement them faster than I can.

Definitely when I take my leave soon, I will take my time to compile that Ugandan Cook Book, it may be the single contribution I can make to Uganda’s tourism. Which brings me to the central question-why don’t Ugandan Hotels have a fully fledged Ugandan menu? To make it even spicier, why not have a menu that gives a taste of the different regions and tribes of Uganda, the drinks, the foods, the vegetables, the fruits and the deserts? Why can’t we have a hotel in Uganda preparing ground nut paste with the Gisu’s bamboo shoots aka Malewa?

These are questions that trouble my mind every night. They are very simple questions yet we fail to solve them. Instead of us wasting time running after the big ideas of making tourism better, we could start with the simple things. What is Ugandan about our hotels? You will be troubled to find a Ugandan distinction in our hotels.

Mustapha Mugisa opined in a tweet; “Uganda hotels are killing local tourism: no local menu. Everything is SpinachCannelloni; PastaPrimavera; Penne etc no Kalo.” I couldn’t agree beyond my tails. He had hit the point home. Hopefully, the powers that be in this tourism can pick up these ideas and inject life in them.

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Opinion

Opinion: If 1% of Uganda’s Population Started Mining Bitcoin, UEGCL Would Have To Construct A New Dam Every 2 Months

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bitcoin

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By Ian Ortega

It is now clear that there is no escaping the Bitcoin revolution. Bitcoin is here to stay, and so is Blockchain, the technology upon which Bitcoin runs. Yet even more scary is the power consumption that is used up in the Bitcoin mining process.

An individual bitcoin transaction is estimated to use up 300kwh of electricity, an equivalent of boiling over 30,000 kettles of water.

Current global Bitcoin energy usage is 0.13 percent of the world’s electricity consumption. According to Joel Bellenson, at Bitcoin’s current growth rate of 30% per month, Bitcoin mining energy consumption will exceed global solar energy production before the next Christmas. “It will take 25 months until Bitcoin mining completely eradicates human civilisation,” he notes. “25 months at current bitcoin mining energy growth rate of 30% per month before mining exceeds 100% of all the electricity on the planet.”

The bitcoin users are estimated to be peaking towards 18 million, as per those with a Bitcoin wallet. As per UETCL records, “Uganda’s peak power system demand currently stands at 500 MW against an installed generation capacity of 851.53MW.”

This implies, that if 1% of Uganda’s population were to start mining bitcoin, UEGCL would have to construct a new dam with the same capacity of Karuma every 2 months. And this should be a very scary thought for the Electricity bodies as Bitcoin could prove to be a bigger threat to energy usage than anything.

But is UEGCL prepared for such an eventuality? Would it cope if Bitcoin mining and transactions became the order of the day in the country? Probably this may not happen. And we could see a country coming to a total standstill. The country then may surely need to open up conversations about Bitcoin and Blockchain.

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Opinion

OPINION: It is time for Gospel Artistes to break out of their shell and shine

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Judith Babirye

Judith Babirye is one of the leading gospel artistes in Uganda

By James Propa

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It is evident from several digital music selling platforms that comparatively gospel music is one of the most selling genres of music in the world. However it is evident in Uganda, most gospel artists tend to lock themselves in serving ‘the converted’ than serving the entire market.

It is also true that however much there is too much politics in the music industry, there is equally too much politics in the churches and this further reduces the audiences to which the gospel artists promote their music. This also affects the turn up at their concerts.

With this kind of politics hitting you up from both angles, there is absolutely little room to shine and benefit from your career.

Don’t you find it quite terrible that in 2017, we have only had 2 gospel artists staging relatively big concerts? Hon Judith Babirye and Levixone at the Museum. What is common about these 2 is the way they tapped into the radio stations and opportunities that are not driven by religion.

It is time for other gospel artists to start creating universal content using simple language that even non-believers can understand and like. This is when they will become happy and also have an opportunity to own mansions and sleek cars like their counterparts doing other genres of music.

Get out of your shell and shine!

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Opinion

Is B2C Manager Andy Events Surpassing Jeff Kiwa in Talent Management?

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By Staff Writer

For the past years, Jeff Kiwa has established himself as one of the best artiste managers we have in the industry, having  worked with top artistes like Jose Chameleone, Radio and Weasel until 2015 when he started Team No Sleep, consisting of Sheebah, Pallaso (who later left), Bakri and Akay (RIP) among others.

However with the growing Ugandan music industry, other talent managers have emerged and are giving the Team No Sleep boss and others a run for their money.

B2C soldiers manager Andy Events is one of the new talent managers on the block that have proved to be a genius in the music business.

While Jeff Kiwa’s Team No Sleep is falling apart, Andy Events has got his groove on and seems to have a lot more to offer.

 

Three years ago, few people knew about the B2C but Andy Events has made them stars and kept them among the fan’s favorite for the past two years, something that makes us believe that at this rate, he could beat Jeff kiwa at his game if the later doesn’t pull up his socks.

Despite having an impressive record of turning young artistes into stars, Jeff Kiwa has failed at maintaining a good artiste-manager relationship. It will be remembered that Jeff has fallen out with Jose Chameleone, Radio and Weasel, Pallaso among others.

Andy Events on the other hand has been able to keep three talented artistes (B2C) together and also maintain a good relationship with them. Anyway the true narrative will be written over the coming years.

 

 

 

 

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