Staff, 2022-12-18 23:00:47,
For residents of East Africa, like much of the world, this is the first Christmas they are celebrating with fully opened economies after the two agonising years of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Traditionally, in Uganda, shoppers throng downtown Kampala at the start of every December for all kinds of goods for the festive season. It’s boom time for businesses, a scene replicated across major towns in East Africa: Travel to the countryside, crowded shopping malls, and overbooked hotels are the hallmarks of the festive season.
But 2022 is proving different for Kampala. With inflation and precautions around Covid-19 and Ebola, the heavy foot traffic characteristic of downtown Kampala is conspicuously missing – keeping many businesses, especially those in the leisure sector, pessimistic about this year’s festive season.
Even though a string of music concerts have been heavily advertised in Kampala, event organisers admit they don’t expect much turn out due to the knock-on effects of Covid-19, Ebola and rising prices of goods and services.
“We expect less turn up this time because people are generally poor. The economy is in silent recession,” said Balaam Barugahara, a leading Ugandan events organiser.
Party after party
In Kampala, Christmas season celebrations usually involve partying in every nook and cranny of the city, from the exotic hotels to small neighbourhood bars; parties that start on Christmas Eve and end on Boxing Day.
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