The two-day Kampala Geopolitics Conference (KGC), which is being hosted for the fifth time, kicked off today morning at the Makerere University Auditorium.
The conference, which s being held under the theme 'Bringing International Debates to Africa', has brought together leaders, academics, students, representatives from civil society and media, political decision-makers, and the diplomatic community, among others to discuss the challenges the globe is currently facing including climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, trade, cybersecurity, the Covid-19 pandemic among others.
While opening the event, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe said he was honored to have the conference at the university.
"We value this conference as a major avenue to disseminate our research on major national and global issues," he said.
"I am happy to see that the 5th Kampala Geopolitics Conference will include international debates on topics such as women's rights, the war in Ukraine, the globalization of sport, etc."
Xavier Sticker, French ambassador to Uganda, said that the conference provides an environment for building "a common ground to identify what kind of action we can take together."
He said: We are here to listen to you and pass on your conclusions onwards in order to have that global discussion for global solutions to be found."
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Director for Regional Program on Security Dialogue for East Africa Nils Wörmer noted that through the "conference, we want to reach as many people as we can internationally and discuss issues that will impact people's lives."
One of the topics discussed today morning was titled Global Impact of War in Ukraine-African Perspectives and it was moderated by Solomon Serwanjja, the executive director of the African Institute for Investigative Journalism.
Dr. Samuel Kazibwe, an expert on International Relations said: "African leaders are trying to play a delicate balance, and it affects us in a way. Being overly conscious is one of the implications of this Russia - Ukraine war. It's a ripple effect of this war."
He added: Ukraine and Russia are both to blame for the ongoing war. Both nations were ill-advised. We have moved full circle and gone back to the cold war era."
He advised: "It's important for us as a continent to think and implement homegrown solutions. It is important to find homegrown solutions, but we need to appreciate that the world has flattened. Even when we choose to close ourselves, we are living in a flattened world. What happens elsewhere affects us. Many times, African countries say they are sovereign, but sovereign in what?"
Prof Philip Kasaija Apuuli from the Political Science Department at Makerere University said: "As Africans, we are not putting our house in order. We are not poor. We need African solutions to African problems with African money and African leaders."
He went on: "This war (Russia - Ukraine) has exposed the arrogance of some countries. We have serious challenges, and we need to do more as a continent. How can we suffer from food insecurity? We have the opportunity to produce."
Rachel Sebudde, senior economist at World Bank observed that "the supply chain disruptions and increasing prices have led to the current inflation rates."
According to her, "this has led to monetary tightening which has several implications. These developments have had an implication on Africa."
On climate change, she said: "Weather shocks have become more intense and frequent. This has had implications for agriculture. Combining these shocks has raised fears in Africa. Policymakers need to strengthen their ability to absorb shocks."
The conference will end tomorrow and a number of activities will be conducted, including Twitter spaces to spice up the discussions and facilitate engagements with a wider audience and cultural activities, including a photo exhibition.