Prof Balunywa: Why British Airways Quit Uganda

The United States President Barrack Obama who flew to Ethiopia from Kenya on Sunday evening is set to meet with President Museveni in the capital Addis Ababa on Monday evening.

The world’s most powerful leader has set one and a half hours to meet Museveni and other regional leaders to discuss the crisis in South Sudan.

The meeting is scheduled to start from 14:00hrs to 15:30hrs GMT or 17:00 to 18:30 EAT at the African Union headquarters.

The special gathering is set to brainstorm and come out with solutions on the South Sudan political turmoil that caused unprecedented levels of destruction of human lives and property.

The meeting will be graced by Kenyan President, order Uhuru Kenyatta and the host Ethiopian Prime Minister; Hailemariam Desalegn.

Amid massive displacement and “horrendous atrocities, buy ” civilians continue to bear the brunt of South Sudan’s brutal conflict, information pills the top United Nations relief official underscored, as he urged all parties, including the leaders of the warring factions, to “listen to their people,” lay down their arms and halt the rapidly spiraling humanitarian crisis.

“I am deeply shocked by what I have seen. Innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of this brutal war,” said Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, as he wrapped up a four-day visit to South Sudan, which earlier this month, marked the fourth anniversary of its independence amid ongoing violence and deprivation.

Mr. O’Brien, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, painted a grim picture of the situation in South Sudan, which has been wracked by instability and conflict since later December 2013.


“Families have endured horrendous atrocities – including killing, abduction, and the recruitment of children into armed groups. Women and girls have been beaten, raped and set on fire,” he said, explaining that entire communities have lost their homes and their livelihoods.

Many people are starving, living in swamps or in bushes, hiding in fear of their lives.

President Museveni maintains Special Forces in South Sudan, creating a buffer zone between Juba and rebels loyal to Dr Riek Machar.

Obama will as well discuss the terrorism threat in the region struggling to contain attacks from the Al-Qaida linked terrorist group Al-Shabaab based in Somalia.

“POTUS (President of the United States) is going have an exhaustive chat with President Museveni today in Addis Ababa,” a diplomat told ChimpReports today afternoon.

“There are basically two prominent agenda on table. The South Sudan problem and the Islamic violent extremism in the area (region).”

Contacted, Presidential Press Secretary, Linda Nabusayi confirmed the development, saying the president is ready to travel to Addis Ababa this afternoon for a “big” meeting with the US president and other regional counterparts.


“Mzee (Museveni) is expected in Ethiopia for a big meeting with Obama today and it is indeed already in his program for the day.”

We also understand the president is travelling together with the acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Henry Okello Oryem.

Uganda is a strong US ally on combating global terrorism and the first country to deploy in the war-ravaged Horn of African nation of Somalia under the auspices of African Union Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Uganda together with the regional IGAD members is at the forefront of looking for a peaceful resolution to South Sudan crisis that has claimed over 20,000 lives, displaced about one and half a million internally and about 600,000 to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations figures.

According to sources, Washington doesn’t want to directly push the worrying parties in the conflict to the corner but wants to support joint efforts of South Sudan neighbors mainly Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya.
NSSF will launch this year’s “Torch Awards” this evening at Kampala Serena hotel. Up to Shs 80 million will be awarded to outstanding individuals and organizations that have worked to make a difference in the country.

 Inaugurated in October 2012, and the “NSSF Torch Awards” is an initiative through which the Fund implements its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda.

According to the Fund’s Managing Director, no rx Richard Byarugaba, the 2015 awards are focused on education, health, youth and the disadvantaged.

The awards are not only intended to support efforts by community based organizations that are causing positive change in their communities but also  empower local communities to develop capacity to address local community challenges as well as highlight the plight of the underprivileged members of our society to cause action by various stakeholders.

The first edition of the awards in 2013 saw 5 winning projects get awarded out of over 100 received from Community Based Organizations.

 For a project to be eligible for these awards, it should be a nonprofit organization that benefits the wider community and should not be funded by government, international or local charities and Non-Governmental Organisations.

By Prof Wasswa Balunywa

I have been teaching change for some time and now and again you anticipate the change and at times it hits you without knowing.

British Airways has announced its flight plans to Entebbe. Starting October, page they will no longer fly a direct flight to Entebbe which has been 3 to 5 times a week.

The company that BA succeeded was the first one to land in Entebbe years back. It is said possibly in 1940s. Today, pharmacy BA is pulling out of the market it started. What are the causes of these?

BA says the route is not profitable. Of course it is not primarily because there is not much trade anymore between the United Kingdom and Uganda.

The world has changed. The trade is between Asian countries and African countries. It is not surprising therefore that Emirates has a daily flight so has Qatar so has Etihad.

Ethiopian has three flights a day into Entebbe not because of trade but because of it has a marketing gain to link Ugandans to different parts of the world so does Kenya airways. It too links Ugandans to various countries and various markets. It has four flights into Entebbe every day.

The change in nature of business has seen industries relocate from Europe to Asia. Today, china is the world’s factory that is where everything is produced today.

Dubai has been the world’s distributor of goods especially for Africa and the Middle East. Dubai also launched a tourism strategy that has attracted tourists to it making tourism one of the biggest sources of revenues to Dubai.

Countries like Egypt with traditional tourist sites have not matched Dubai’s strategy despite their centrality in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

That is a result of lack of strategy because Egypt could fly people and goods more easily to the United States, Europe and Asia from Africa than Dubai does. But it is possible; the strategists in Egypt have not seen this potential.

They would be competing favorably with emirates. British airways flies daily to Nairobi with a bigger capacity plane because there are more Britons in Kenya and there are a lot of British owned businesses in Kenya.

Uganda lost British businesses in 1972 when Amin ordered foreigners out of the country many relocated to Nairobi. It is easier to manufacture from Kenya that in Uganda. As a result business has never returned to Uganda.

It is therefore viable for British airways to fly into Nairobi. Besides Kenya has a bigger tourist market and therefore BA ferries many Britons to Kenya. It cannot therefore get out of the Kenyan market that easily.

The other reason why BA s leaving Uganda, it is something that possibly looks far-fetched. As a British colony, every Ugandan who wanted to go abroad preferred Britain.

Indeed the migrants from most African countries many of whom we have seen die in the Mediterranean sea, want to end up in the United Kingdom. This is because London is a more multi-cultural city than other cities in Europe.

However the British economy cannot take up all these migrants and as a result a British visa is not something easy to secure.

Today, if you want a visa from Britain, it is processed either in South Africa or Addis Ababa. Studying in Britain is also not an easy thing. It costs a fortune over shs.100m a year for a Ugandan to study in the United Kingdom.

You can imagine how many people could afford that money. The Visa restriction has also made people hate to use the British Airways for any trip even to Europe.

Adieu British Airways. Times have changed. I used to be a gold card member of the BA. I have been downgraded to blue because I rarely use their airline. It is the shortest route to UK and the US but its flights have not been flexible enough.

Flying through Nairobi will make it slightly expensive and the journey will take much longer.

For a customer with many airlines to choose from, those with the British Airlines tradition will continue to fly BA.

The author is the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University Business Schoool, Kampala

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