As 2023 approaches the horizon, we spoke to expats from all corners of Uganda to gain insight into where they think the world and the country are headed as we approach the new year.
Coronation of King Charles:
Katherine, working as a teacher at an international school, originally from Manchester, UK, is most looking forward to the Coronation of King Charles III. King Charles III will be crowned in Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023, eight months after he succeeded his mother.
The United Kingdom being the only monarchy in Europe that retains the ritual of a coronation, it will be a royal occasion, full of the pageantry loved by so many. While the specifics of next year’s event have yet to be revealed, coronations have stayed largely the same for more than 1,000 years, so we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It’s likely to start with the King and Queen Consort traveling to the abbey in procession in the Gold State Coach – seen earlier this year in Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Once Charles and Camilla arrive, Buckingham Palace says, the coronation “will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.” The occasion will also see the Queen Consort crowned in a similar but smaller ceremony. Experts say Charles III’s coronation will be a significantly more subdued occasion than his mother’s, with arrangements influenced by the ongoing cost of living crisis in the UK.
Post Covid Festivals and Concerts:
This year in Kampala, we saw the spectacular afro-performers: Rema, Adekunle Gold, Sauti Sol, Fireboy and more. No 2023 festivals have been announced yet but after the social lull and spiral that was 2020-early 2021, the people of Uganda can not wait to return to being the party capital of Africa. For information on hot events, be sure to follow @talentafricagroup, who hosts many of the big Ugandan events and artists such as Nyege Nyege and more! Shrishti, working for Pepal, an NGO in Uganda, is looking forward to seeing what new artists will visit the country and perhaps even the region too!
Exciting new economic sectors being explored:
A handful of folks across the country are looking forward to the arrival of new economic sectors in Uganda. I spoke to Francois from the French Embassy. With the FID signed, it is hoped that money from the Oil Pipeline trickles down to local communities. Likewise, as green energy and electric cars become cheaper and more readily available, it is hoped that Uganda may create favourable coniditons for e-vehicles and e-scooters to flourish. Lastly, with innovation, it is hoped the the post-harvest season in Uganda and the pressure for local manufacturers to invest in value addition will see the economy flourish. Value addition is the process of changing or transforming a product from its original state to a more valuable state, through packaging, marketing, canning, preserving etc.
Inflation and Cost of Living:
Shirley, who manages a Chinese restaurant in Kampala, is most concerned about the rising cost of living and inflation in Uganda for 2023. The Inflation Rate in Uganda is expected to be 7.30 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. In the long-term, the Uganda Inflation Rate is projected to trend around 8.70 percent in 2023 and 5.00 percent in 2024, according to econometric models. The cost of fuel, boda-bodas, taxis, and groceries have all increased palpably and these are the first indications of the rising cost of living. It is hopeful that this increase will be curbed so that commuting to work does not become cost-prohibitive for those living on standard wages.
Franny works for GIZ, the German Development Agency, and she is originally from Germany. Fran is most concerned about the Ebola Virus Disease as we approach 2023. In September 2022, Uganda recorded it’s first case of the current Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak. The outbreak in Uganda is caused by the Sudan ebolavirus strain, against which no vaccines or other pharmaceuticals are licensed. Therefore, reliance on rapid case identification, contact tracing and effective infection prevention and control measures remain the key response measures in the current situation. Ebola is spread through direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, vomit, urine and sweat of an infected person or animal. Ebola can also be spread through using skin piercing instruments that have been used by a person infected with Ebola. Ebola can also be transmitted through by touching people or animals that have died from Ebola. Through adequate precautions, and robust contact tracing, it is hoped that virus will not gain further ground and hopefully will not slow down the economy and tourism.
Globally, the most pressing cross-generational issue is Climate Change! Freya, who owns a small NGO focussed on increasing access to education in Uganda is originally from Sweden. She expressed her deep disappointment in the global community’s response to climate change. She is however impressed that at her 7 year old’s school in Kampala, they are discussing car-pooling, recycling, poaching and more – hopefully breeding a generation of climate aware children and youth. Climate change won’t just impact forest, or coral reefs, or even people in far-off countries – it will affect all of us.
From more extreme weather to increasing food prices, to recreation and decreased opportunities to appreciate the natural world, people everywhere will feel its effects. Due to these changes, a number of species of plants and animals have gone extinct. A warmer climate increases public health challenges like heat aggravated illnesses, increases in vector borne diseases, and decreased access to safe water and food. Cutting short-lived climate pollutants can slow the rate of warming and lower public health risks.
Overall, it looks like 2023 will be a fabulous year.
A year of fun and festivals, a year of coming together, a year where we raise a more climate and environmentally conscious generation of kids, and a year where Uganda may see the impacts of foreign investment in the oil pipeline. No matter your plans, or no matter what country’s you’ve straddled, the best advice one can offer into 2023 is to make future-proof decisions and focus your energy on your priorities, whether that be friends and family, or work and social causes.