The Uganda Communications Commission and Uganda Tourism Board are two government agencies with two divergent mandates, but they share a deep sense of duty to grow the film industry in Uganda.
This shared sense of duty has gradually developed into a bond that is set to be formalised through a memorandum of understanding.
As the UTB Chief Executive Officer Ms Lilly Ajarova and her UCC counterpart Mr Godfrey Mutabazi met in the latter’s office in Bugolobi on Thursday, there was total agreement on one thing – the two agencies are on the same page concerning the promotion of film in Uganda.
While UCC has taken on the lead role in streamlining and developing the film industry in Uganda and is behind the annual Uganda Film Festival (UFF), UTB has the task of promoting Uganda as a tourism destination, and film has long been recognised as a tourism driver in its own right.
In fact, a clear statement of intent was made in the choice of theme for last month’s Uganda Film Festival – Film and Tourism in the Pearl of Africa. And UTB didn’t disappoint – it came on board as one of the event’s platinum sponsors, funding the premiere of a movie and offering the Lifetime Achievement Award – a trip for two to Murchison Falls National Park for three days.
In appreciation of their support for UFF 2019, UCC presented UTB with a plaque, which was handed over to Ms Ajarova by her host during the meeting on Thursday. UTB was absent when other sponsors were hosted to breakfast by UCC recently.
In brief remarks during their meeting, Mr Mutabazi thanked Ms Ajarova for partnering with UCC to make UFF 2019 a success. He reiterated UCC’s readiness to work with UTB to promote Uganda.
“Let us take the initiative; UCC has taken the initiative through UFF,” he said, pointing to the 56% TV local content with the 70% target in sight, as one of the tangible results of this initiative.
On her part, Ms Ajarova thanked the UCC ED and his team for the warm reception.
She said one of the products UTB is focusing on is to promote Uganda as a film destination, adding that they couldn’t have found a better agency to work with than UCC given they are both looking in the same direction.
Commenting on the tourism industry, she noted the absence of a single brand for Uganda but was quick to add that an exercise is ongoing to develop one in coordination with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
Ms Ajarova proposed the formalisation of the partnership between the two institutions through the development of an MOU detailing how it should work, each party’s role and measurable targets.
The UCC ED welcomed the idea and suggested that both teams get to work on the MOU, which is expected to be finalised by the end of January 2020.
“I’m excited about this partnership, and I’m sure we’ll make a difference,” Ms Ajarova said.