Jessica Scholl

Inclusive Business, Partnering

Building an IB Ecosystem for the Ugandan Tourism Sector through Multi-Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships

Sub-Saharan Africa
12. May 2016

For most, Uganda has never been synonymous with ‘tourist hotspot.’ Unlike its neighbour to the east, Kenya, a recent history of political instability and rebel-controlled national parks do not make for an ideal international tourist destination. Despite the underdevelopment of the industry, tourism ‘is happening to Uganda’ (to quote one local stakeholder) and relevant actors have the opportunity to shape the development of this nascent industry in ways that benefit both businesses and disadvantaged, low-income populations. This ethos was widely propagated and embraced by representatives across sectors at a recent, high-level breakfast meeting hosted by UNDP in Kampala.

Panelists and attendees – representing the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, the Ugandan private-sector, international donor agencies, and the UN – all agreed that their individual interest in tourism could only be realized through the collaborative pursuit of an inclusive tourism sector in Uganda. This highlights the way in which cross-sector collaboration underpins the development of inclusive business ecosystems, or the network of interconnected, interdependent actors necessary for inclusive businesses to succeed and overcome critical barriers to scale.[1]

The panel discussion was part of UNDP’s 3-day meeting, Strengthening Inclusive Business Ecosystems in Africa, in which over 65 representatives of businesses, non-profit organizations, national governments and UNDP from 15 African countries acquired some of the skills, tools and know-how necessary to collaboratively explore the development of inclusive business ecosystems in their respective regions. The diversity of sectors and organizations represented is one of the many indicators of just how fundamental multi-stakeholder engagement is to the development of an ecosystem in which individual inclusive business models can survive and thrive.

The upcoming Partnering for Inclusive Business Ecosystems issue brief explores this relationship in greater detail, establishing partnering as a vital component of inclusive business ecosystem building and exploring what this means in practice (e.g. different ways to structure engagement, varying levels of scope and purpose, challenges involved, and competencies needed.) Please do share what aspects resonate with you and which do not!

For further information on the meeting above, see:

Press Release: UNDP Uganda to host the first meeting on Strengtheni... 19 April 2016.

[1] Gradl, Christina and Beth Jenkins (2011).“Tackling Barriers to Scale: From Inclusive Business Models to Inclusive Business Ecosystems.” Cambridge, MA: the CSR Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School.