Opinion: What we should have done to market Uganda better at the Dubai Expo

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Opinion: What we should have done to market Uganda better at the Dubai Expo
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By Amos Wekesa

Dubai guys understand marketing and positioning.

Dubai whose wealth was transported on donkeys in the 1980s boosts three main sectors pushing them higher and higher. The three sectors are tourism ( the last time I read, every 5th building is a hotel), real estate, and finance. Oil only contributes 5%.

We must all appreciate the fact that most of us not all including our politicians look at capitalism in terms of consumption as opposed to the production bit of it.

Consumption is responsible for many leaders being in Dubai now.

The other challenge is that government organs work in silos just like us citizens. It’s difficult for us to work together for a common good though that is changing slowly, It’s not at the speed we ought to be moving at.

Yes, there are times we should fight each other and there must be times we all rally for opportunities as Ugandans. Yes, there will still be some opportunities out of Dubai Expo but too little compared to what we would have had if we were organized.

Recently on NBS TV Frontline, I said there isn’t any country in the world that can grow without a clear external growth strategy.

Uganda for example looks at say 10 countries and says, we must earn $ 20bn from each annually.

The 78 South African companies operating here are part of the external business strategy of South Africa. They earn about $ 500m annually from our small economy annually. The four Kenyan banks and several other businesses operating here are part of Kenya’s external business strategy

A poor onion grower from Lwakhakha can never empower another peasant farmer from Kaberebere growing bananas. NEVER!
They both must access higher external paying markets for them to be relevant to each other.

With a clear external strategy, you choose the right human resource from ambassadors, commercial representatives plus deploying of right resources to achieve desired goals. My small businesses teach me that all the time.

The right human resource would have worked together in advance for the case of the Dubai expo on design, for example, products to display, human resources to man the stalls or booths, marketing of the stalls, networking meetings, etc.

The Chinese for example can make almost everything but they will never make our weather, The Nile, Lake Victoria, concentrations of birds, our organic foods, etc.

The idea is about selling to them expensively things they can’t create, have in the country.

You don’t try to sell them what they are good at but things that are unique to you.

You will require a research team that will have actually figures, for example, they will need 10m pineapples, you work backward with farmers to deliver the required amounts.

You negotiate good pricing for them as an incentive.

They would for example love to see the source of the longest river, make sure you put up Great marketing efforts which make the Chinese feel like if they don’t visit that source, then they are a nobody!

The author is a tourism enthusiast

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