Uganda to take over Non-Aligned Movement mantle

Saturday November 18 2023

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. PHOTO | AFP


Uganda will, from January 2024 to 2026, chair the Global South Association of 120 countries after hosting the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Kampala in January 2024.

President Yoweri Museveni will take over from Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev to lead the second-biggest group of countries after the United Nations.

The Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961 at the height of the Cold War between the West and East, has a membership of 120 countries — 53 from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and two from Europe.

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Launching preparations for the summit Tuesday, the chairperson of the National Organising Committee Lucy Nakyobe said the focus would be on bringing together leaders from around the world to address pressing global issues and foster cooperation among member nations. She assured the international community that Uganda was secure despite the recent travel advisories by the US and UK embassies over threats of terrorism in the country.

“I assure you all that the country is secure and ready to receive the international visitors coming in January. We are ready for our guests. But I still call upon the general public to remain vigilant,” Nakyobe said.


She said the airport was undergoing extensive readjustment, including expansion of the main terminal building, and construction of a VVIP parking area to enhance the airport’s capacity.

Kampala city is also undergoing a facelift, with the executive director Dorothy Kisaka calling upon residents to clean up and paint their houses, buildings, and workplaces as well as clean up solid waste ahead of the summit. Many roads are undergoing repair, causing massive traffic gridlocks in the past couple of weeks.

City authorities have undertaken road repair, maintenance and street lighting, while construction of the conference centre at Speke Resort Munyonyo, 10km from the city centre, where the summit will take place is ongoing, despite delays.

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This is one of the biggest global meetings Uganda is hosting after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007. According to President Museveni, Uganda was picked because of its neutrality on international issues like it did during the vote on Russia invasion of Ukraine at the 11th Emergency Session of the UN General Assembly, 31 African countries voted to endorse a resolution asserting the ‘Principles of the Charter of the UN’ seeking a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

In the vote in which 141 member states supported, seven voted against and 32 abstained, Uganda, abstained.

Uganda will also host the G77 + China conference from January 20 to 23, 2024, a day after hosting the NAM, according to ICT and National Guidance Minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who added that hosting the two events shows how Uganda commands respect and trust on the global scene.

Under the theme Leaving no one behind, the group that brings together developing countries that are members of the United Nations will be attended by China. The chairman of the Group of 77 (G77) countries, Pedroso Cuesta Pedro Luis, and his team were in Uganda in May and gave a nod to Uganda’s readiness to host the Third Summit.

The South Summit is the supreme decision-making body of the Group of 77. The First and the Second South Summit were held in Havana, Cuba, and Doha, Qatar respectively, but was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Observers look at the Kampala summit themed Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence, as a reflection of Africa’s growing influence on the international scene, and the summit will foster discussion, debate on shared interests at a time the world is facing challenges of emerging power centres, away from the traditional global blocs.