By Allan Kai
17/01/2024: Leaders from approximately 120 countries have gathered in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, for the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), marking one of the largest global meetings hosted by Uganda since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007
The week-long summit, which commenced on Monday, has drawn around 4,000 guests from various member states, highlighting the significance of the NAM in addressing critical global issues and fostering cooperation among nations.
Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, emphasized the need for multilateralism and solidarity in the face of numerous challenges confronting the world today. These challenges include armed conflicts, food insecurity, migration, unemployment, health pandemics, climate change, and terrorism. Minister Odongo stressed the importance of addressing existing, new, and emerging issues, emphasizing the common good.
Delegates at the summit are in two committees: the political committee and the economic and social committee. These committees will play a crucial role in shaping the Kampala Outcome Document by Foreign Affairs ministers and declared at the Heads of State summit on Saturday.
Today, Foreign Affairs Ministers from the member states met and discussed the document with Kenya's representative to the conference, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Musalia Mudavadi advocating for "fortified cooperation in political, economic, and social realms, urging collective efforts to safeguard and enhance the functionality of the multilateral system for the benefit of all."
Mudavadi further called for collaborative solutions to surmount barriers to financial access, endorsing reforms in the international financial architecture, debt relief, concessional finance, grants, de-risking lending instruments, and boosting investment in critical sectors that drive the economy.
The Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961 during the Cold War, is the second-largest group of countries globally. Unlike other regional and international organizations, NAM operates without a formal founding Charter, Act, or Treaty and lacks a permanent secretariat. Uganda is assuming the chairmanship from Azerbaijan, with its tenure set to continue until 2027.
Uganda Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi anticipates a positive economic impact on various sectors, including hospitality, transport, and logistics. The summit could generate earnings benefiting these sectors and trickle down to suppliers.
The NAM Summit in Kampala serves as a platform for leaders to discuss global challenges and cooperation. As the world faces many complex issues, the NAM reaffirms its commitment to collective action and multilateral solutions for the betterment of member states and humanity.