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January 9, 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa: The East African Community – On the Move

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Comprised of five countries – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi – the East African Community has a growing business tourism industry in bustling and beautiful settings.  Despite a tumultuous history, the region has stabilised over the last two decades and all of the countries now enjoy consistent political security and economic growth.

What’s Happening Now

Holiday Tourism Fair – Kenya 

Towards the end of March, the annual Holiday Tourism Fair takes place at the Sarit Exhibition Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The show sees up to 15,000 visitors and over 70 exhibitors over the five-day running period. It allows Kenyans the opportunity to see the range of resorts, safari lodges and safari camps available to them at special, resident rates. This is the largest domestic tourism show, with leading hotels, lodges and hospitality services on display.

Key Venues

Arusha International Conference Centre – Tanzania 

Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) is a state of the art edifice located midway between Cairo and Cape Town. It can accommodate up to 1,350 delegates in the main auditorium and was built by the Government of Tanzania to enable and encourage Business Tourism to the nation. The AICC also has ample office space available to rent, as well as hospital services and residential housing units for international personnel working at Arusha. 

Hotel Africana and Conventional Centre – Uganda

Located in Uganda’s largest and capital city, Kampala, Hotel Africana and Conventional Centre has over 14 conference halls with seating capacities ranging from 20 – 3000 participants. The conference rooms are internet-ready with dedicated high-speed wireless connections.  Tele-conferencing, interpretation booths, built-in PAS, infra-powered communication systems, satellite TV, intercom and internet services are also available.

Kenyatta International Conference Centre – Kenya 

Built especially for Conference Tourism, Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is a remarkable, 30-storey landmark on Nairobi’s skyline. The facility was constructed in 1969 and is the only building in the region with a helipad. KICC has a rich MICE heritage and has hosted high profile events in all sectors of the economy. It has eight meeting halls and exhibition areas equipped with cutting edge technology, and includes round-the-clock security surveillance, catering services and an electronic voting system. 

Getting to the EAC by Air

All five East African states have flag carriers – Air Tanzania, RwandAir, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Air Burundi.  Most of the carriers provide extended regional services to a variety of east, west and central African nations as well as limited international flights. International airlines offer connecting flights to countries further afield. 


Kenya – 44,037,656 

Tanzania – 48,261,942

Rwanda – 12,012,589

Burundi – 10,888,321

Uganda – 34,758,809

Total – 149,959,317 (CIA World Factbook, July 2013 est.)


Despite its location just below the equator, the EAC has an atypical climate. Because of its generally high altitude, rains and westerly monsoons created by the Rwenzori Mountains, East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude.  There are two distinct wet seasons – one in April and the other between October and November. West of the mountains the rainfall pattern is more tropical, while coastal regions are hot and humid. Temperatures tend to hover between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

You Need to Know About

The East African Community has recently made tremendous strides both economically and politically. In early December, the five nations signed a Monetary Union Protocol, paving the way for the establishment of a common currency. The EAC has already agreed that East African residents will have a common passport by November 2015, which will only be recognised among the five nations. By January 2014, the East African Common Tourist Visa will also come into effect, which is expected to boost tourism to the region.

Did You Know?

When several Burundians of close acquaintance meet for a gathering they drink impeke – a beer – together from a large container to symbolize unity.

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