Chogam spurs hotel construction boom: the Ugandan capital is abuzz with both the proposed and ongoing construction of luxury five star hotels. But the flurry of activity surrounding the numerous projects has come at a price. African Business' Stuart Price in Kampala investigates.

Author:Price, Stuart
Position:Uganda
 
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There is a new investment trend emerging in Kampala for those with enough financial clout. A plethora of already under construction and approved hotel developments pepper the city centre, and it is perhaps just in time. Towards the end of next year, for the first time in its history, Uganda will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).

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The week-long gathering is expected to host over 50 heads of state along with a small army of some 4,000 delegates and support staff. Such an influx of VIP visitors requires a massive building programme of top-end accommodation and the surge in hotel constructions to meet this demand appears to have begun in earnest.

But some people are wondering what will happen after the 'Lord Mayor's Procession?' The questions being asked is: will demand meet supply and does Uganda really have the potential--in both business and tourism circles--to fill so many top-end hotels after the Chogm summit?

Aside from the already existing Kampala Sheraton, Speke Hotel, Grand Imperial, and Hotels Equatoria and Africana, expansion work is taking place at Speke Resort Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria.

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The government entered into a joint venture with business tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia's Meera Investments to facilitate the construction of the $30m 'Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort,' which is earmarked to accommodate the visiting heads of state and where the majority of Chogm proceedings are expected to take place.

The environment bordering Lake Victoria, however, is extremely sensitive, with even the slightest encroachment having potentially negative consequential effects on the ecosystem.

Waiswa Ayazika, the environmental impact assessment coordinator at the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), told African Business that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was carried out in relation to the proposed expansion work at the 1,800sq.m Munyonyo plot and a permit granted to carry construction activities within a regulated and strictly defined zone.

"The EIA found that the proposed plans needed access to wetlands as the resort is planning to build a floating restaurant. In order to eventually access that restaurant, one has to go through the lake shore so for that a permit was given with a set of conditions."

According to Ayazika, the land designated for the construction of the new rooms, presidential suites and enlarged facilities on the lake shore is existing...

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