Beyond economic gains, highlighted below are other crucial – though intangible returns – that will accrue to Uganda as the host country, and its people.
Some of the intangible benefits include improvement in democratic governance and practice, improved capacity to host major events, fostering diplomatic relations, enhanced hospitality rating and raising the profile of the host city generally and the country as a democracy and tourist destination.
As parliaments are primarily central institutions through which democratic governance is expressed and practiced, officials say hosting this event means Ugandans will witness and appreciate more increased levels of accountability as is the practice in the Commonwealth family.
“The value returns on the democracy and governance front are among the benefits that are not immediately tangible, but they cannot be denied. The peer-to-peer nature of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association forms an accountability network for legislators in the member states.
They hold each other to the basic principles of democracy, human rights, rule of law and transparency through topics chosen for discussion,” Parliament documents read.
During the various meetings of the 64th CPC, delegates will task and challenge one another on issues of best practice in accountability and good governance in order to arrive at workable solutions for the benefit of their citizens.
Apparently, the host governments have the chance to highlight particular issues it would like to rally the support of the Commonwealth on.
For Uganda, a case in point is the huge refugee burden of 1.3 million refugees that the country carries, which if raised, could spur action from member states in the form of humanitarian aid or putting pressure on leaders of countries that generate refugees to work for peace.
Women, youth and the marginalised
By hosting the CPC, Uganda also plays host to the Commonwealth Women Parliamentary Conference, a platform that has helped address issues of gender equality in all member states.
The deliberations and resolutions of women parliamentarians, including Ugandans, will bring social, cultural and economic gains for especially women and girls, when their message is carried on to the national parliamentary agenda.
The gender and equity message is about inclusion of all marginalised persons, including persons with disabilities, in social, economic and cultural spheres, and not least, their own governance. Uganda’s leaders will be in a unique position to lead by example as all focus will be on the host to ‘practice what they preach’.
Similarly, the Youth Roundtable will open doors for Ugandan young people to raise their concerns for consideration by the larger CPA.
The roundtable will build their capacity to participate in national and global debate on democracy and policy intended to improve their wellbeing.
Goodwill and visibility
Less tangible benefits.
• One of the less tangible benefits is the general building of peaceful relations with other nations, including on individual and institutional levels.
The manifestations of goodwill could come in the following form: openness to visa applicants from Uganda, favour when sponsorships, project proposals and scholarships are being considered, invitations to participate in international forums, such as speaking engagements, artist collaborations and education exchange programmes.