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Uganda government courts billionaire Sudhir to co-finance modern conventional centre that will host top global summit next year

Sudhir Ruparelia

In what Uganda’s finance minister calls an “urgent project”, government has courted billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia to form a joint venture to build a modern Convention Centre at Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria.

A deal which will mirror the arrangement with Sudhir in 2006 ahead of Chogm, this convention centre will be another joint venture and the facility will be used to host the Non-Alligned Movement (NAM) summit due to take place in Kampala city in November, 2023.

NAM summit hosts more than 120 heads of state, leading countries not aligned to any of the rival eastern or western power blocs. The summit started in 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia advocates for political and economic rights for its members as well as lobbying for global affairs influential positions.

Finance minister Matia Kasaija told Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper that the government was undertaking the project with Sudhir because the billionaire has assured them to raise funds to co-finance the project.

“It is an urgent project, and a lot of money is needed which will be difficult for government to muster in a short notice. Government does not have all the money. There are many things we have to do; so, if we find a partner, it is easier.”

However, Dr Sudhir has declined to comment on the discussions.
The government estimates the project to consume over USD40 million and talks between Sudhir’s team and the government’s representatives have come to how much the two parties will contribute to the facility. Already, the government and Mr Ruparelia’s company, share ownership of the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo, so this initiative would not be a new phenomenon.

The Monitor said on Monday that President Museveni tasked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to ensure a modern conference centre was in place.

Ms Nabbanja therefore met with Mr Sudhir, Uganda’s leading property developer and consul to Nepal, to discuss this venture. The meeting was attended by technocrats from ministries of Finance and Works, as well as Uganda’s permanent representative to the United Nations HQ in New York, Adonia Ayebare.

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