The Dubai expo is a globally recognized trade expo being hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Dubai was named as the host on November 27, 2013 by The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) General Assembly in Paris under the name Expo 2020. The event was originally scheduled for October 20, 2020 to April 10,2021, it was postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Ugandan pavilion at the Expo has attracted a lot of criticism with many people blaming the ‘mess’ at the expo to the many politicians that travelled for the expo.
“I blame Uganda’s poor display at the Dubai Expo 2020 on having only the big guys travel and leaving the real doers of the work,” tweeted a one Brian Kalungi Kibirige.
The innovator Livara Natural and organic cosmetics, Maxima Nsimenta narrated her ordeal at the expo.
The Uganda Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020
So, I travelled to Dubai to exhibit my innovation and brand Livara to the world. I went with the sole intention of showing the world the value of the naturally amazing Shea tree and what we have done with the nuts we get from it. I needed to show the world that we are more than just a cosmetics manufacturing company, we are a movement and a trendsetter in an area that up to now has been paid minimal attention: natural and organic products for the African person – or person with African origin.
Did I mention that I was invited by Uganda Industrial Research Institute and Uganda Investment Authority to exhibit at this expo?!
On invitation, I expected to have a brief sent to me about what to expect at the expo, the set – up requirements in the minimum, the recommended hotels, the transport options, the requirements for travel, etc……Nothing was shared even after several requests for information. I ended up booking a hotel through Booking.com oy to be scammed by a Nigerian. On reporting this to the Minister of Trade and organizers present, all I was told was, “Sorry.”
That aside, I got to our Ugandan Pavilion and I had no space allocation to exhibit yet I had submitted a list of items that I intended to exhibit. Need I point out that I was the only local manufacturer with catalogues and magazines full of information about us and Uganda’s Shea butter greatness? I had to fight for the little box that I was given and then requested to have my other goods shipped back home.
Come Uganda day, the few exhibitors were clearly told not to set foot in the pavilion. Apparently the Ministers would do the talking for us! These people have very limited insight (technical and otherwise) into what we do! They could never sell our innovations and value additions to anyone! We needed to have worked together and for them to let our young energy speak for the country just like other, more developed countries are doing. There’s something about letting the entrepreneurs speak for themselves because it is us that can best sell our story to anyone. On Uganda day, the organizers chose to send aways the entrepreneurs and innovators in order to make it a political show!
So, we are in Dubai at this mega place ready to meet investors and potential trade partners….Uganda has only organized one business forum at which again it is going to be a political show! Our neighbors Kenya, Rwanda and the rest have numerous business forums at which they let the entrepreneurs and innovators speak and pitch to audiences of potential investors and business partners but we, as a country, are eagerly ready to act like fools and not use real experiences of real tangible innovations and products but only want to speak numbers of money that will be swindled!
Uganda, you have disappointed me and I am currently sad to be part of such an irresponsible lot of people who are not ready and willing to go the extra mile to add very much needed value to our nation.
I need better and I expect better. I am tired of rubbish and lack of support.
Livara employs over 60 people and directly impact over 240 family members daily. We work with over 2,000 organized farmers who will suffer if we do not buy the Shea nuts. We have made 49+ product SKUs that are selling like hot cake on the market. We are made up of young, driven, energetic and committed youth who are adding real value to the country. We desperately want to do more and are ready and willing to do more.
But why doesn’t Uganda first look inward and develop our own by creating platforms that actually support our growth?!
Why don’t we get inspired by these developed countries and aspire to want more!
USA – took an actual rocket piece to the Dubai Expo and actual stones from the moon and space.
Kazakhstan – built their new super futuristic city in 20 years and showcased the robotics, and futuristic technology they’re making for the world. They were actually the first country to take people to space. They also showcased their culture which is very very very beautiful, I must add.
EGYPT – I’m lost for words! I wanted to become Egyptian by the time I left.
Uganda take a leaf and let us move forward. These backward steps are taking us nowhere!!!