Interior Design Tips For The Best Look

There is a uniqueness and an air of class when you put in effort into the interior of your property; in fact you do not have to explain to people what the style is. The designs will speak volumes to any of your guests according to what you chose to do with the living space. Here is how you can easily achieve the best interior design for your hotel or home. 

Identify The Styles

Depending on what you want to do, the first step is always to pick a certain style of design that you will go with. It is important to not clutter so many different styles in one place, the design comes off handed, uncluttered and confusing to the eye. Unless of course you are aiming for an abstract, design blocking theme then you will be on the right track. 

Color Fusion

Dull colors tend to make a room look so drab and boring, but a couple of bright palettes here and there will bring out the best of your design. This is usually one of the most important steps in interior design and it seems very easy to achieve; the only issue here would be that it is not easy as it looks. You cannot pull off different color schemes unless you know how easily the different pops of color fuse or else you will have so much in one making for a disastrous stain on designs. 


Every well designed room needs that one item that draws gasps of admiration from your guests, something that will easily start a conversation and at the same time enhance the beauty of the room. You can use pieces of art, chandeliers or the vibrancy of well placed flowers among many things as long as it will stand out beautifully. 

Create Character

Giving most of the rooms in your property different design themes give them a sense of character especially if it is a hotel room. In most hotels; rooms, suites or floors have a very unique naming to them and this makes them stand out, so why not make the design unique to complement the name? An example would be; the Elgon suite, the detail works have to bring the character with a number of pieces of the culture of people who live around. Play around with the theme to bring out a good an appealing warm character. 


Nothing becomes confusing as seeing overdone interior designs, it comes off too strong and not as inviting as you intended it to be. When creating a beautiful design plan for your home/ hotel, make sure to remember that the simplest things always leave the best mark; a little splash of color here and there and not too much of it or maybe a few intricate art pieces in the room will bring out the vision you were working to. 


Let your design throughout easily breeze into the whole property. If you can do this, it gives the whole place a sense of rhythm that flows, giving your guests a sense of understanding without you having to explain what you were trying to do in the first place. 

Balance It Out

Furniture is the best way you can finish off the look without looking like you tried too hard. This means the pieces you buy have to help balance the designs in the house. The fit, shapes and sizes should be proportional to what style you chose to go with. For example, you cannot choose to go with an African styled living room then fill it with modern futuristic furniture, it will stand out as a sore spot on the whole interior. 

The most important step to remember is that; just because it is expensive doesn't mean it shows taste or class. Infact, you might fill the room with very pricy pieces and it ends up looking cheap or tacky. Do not be constrained by finances because you can get very well done less priced items that will bring out the full taste of your designs, even more than the expensive ones. At the same time you have to remember that some of the good pieces are expensive, but they are worth it. 

 About Jumia Travel is Africa's No.1 hotel booking website, allowing you to get the best prices for more than 25,000 hotels in Africa and more than 200,000 hotels around the world.Our ambition is to bring every bit of available accommodation online, and to create the easiest and cheapest way for customers to book it.

At Jumia Travel, we have hundreds of travel specialists constantly in touch with our customers. Our offices are located in Lagos (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Algiers (Algeria), Douala (Cameroon), Kampala (Uganda), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Porto (Portugal) and Paris (France).

Before June 2016, Jumia Travel was known as Jovago. Jumia Travel was founded in 2013 by Jumia and is backed by MTN, Rocket Internet, Millicom, Orange, Axa and financial partners.

Why You Should Join Victoria University Today – The Reasons

University education is the final lap in a student’s knowledge acquisition race and for that matter it must be of top quality. Parents when choosing a university for their children are very demanding. They want their children to go to a quality university.

In Uganda, there are quite a number of public and private universities. Some make the cut as good universities, some don’t. Sometimes amidst this variety, picking out the university that suites your needs as a learner can be troubling. Often times many students end at institutions that doesn’t address their needs.

As one of the top private universities in Uganda, Victoria University stands out as a fulcrum of academic excellence, offering a fresh and intellectually thriving environment for studying. It has rapidly risen as a learning center of choice for many students. It has nurtured critical and progressive thinkers.

Victoria University

In an interview, Victoria University vice-chancellor, Dr Stephen R Isabalija, the Jinja based learning institution offers first class facilities that makes learning a joy. These include State of the Art Clinical skills Lab and Simulation Centre, fully Air Conditioned Lecture Rooms, State of the Art computer Lab, spacious Student Lounge and modern Reference Library.

Victoria University is located in the middle of Kampala City, precisely on Jinja Road, opposite Dewinton Road, providing convenience and accessibility to all our students. This makes it easily accessible and makes it easy for students come in and attend lessons without much hustle.

Victoria University is the first and only University located principally at the heart of Kampala city. Student’s accommodation Hostels are also conveniently located within the city.

Demand Driven Courses

The University provides over 40 degree, diploma and certificate courses that have been bravely selected to meet modern day job market demands in different fields. Ahead of the August intake which is still ongoing, the University introduced short oil and gas courses for people working in the oil sector. This was an addition to other oil and gas courses the University offers.

Some of the degree courses the University offers under the Business and Management department include Business Administration, Procurement and Logistics, Banking and Finance, Bachelor of International Business (BIB).

Under the Humanities & Social Sciences department, the University teaches courses like Public Administration, Social Work & Social Administration, Journalism and Media Studies, Human Resource Management, International Relations and Diplomatic Studies and Tourism and Hotel Management.

Under the Science and Technology department, the university offers Computer Science, Business Information Systems, Business Computing, Information Technology while under the HEALTH SCIENCES department, students can study Public Health. Environmental Health Science, Midwifery Science, Nursing Sciences and Nutrition & Dietetics. You can find similar courses under degree and certificate level.

Research Driven Education

High quality good value courses need to be backed by a solid reputation of research, the vice chancellor explained in an interview. Therefore Dr Isabalija believes that through research driven education, Victoria University wants to be the best University in East and Central Africa.

Victoria University has already partnered with global institutions like IP3 Washington and Coventry University to help build its research capacity.

Cosmopolitan University

Victoria University is home to Ugandans, Rwandese, Tanzanians, South Sudanese, Barundi, Congolese, Indians, Zimbabweans, Cameroonians, Sierre Leoneans, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Somalis, Nigerians, and Ghanaian & Gambians, among many other nationalies.

With students coming from over 20 countries, Victoria University puts itself on the forefront as an international University with an open door policy that welcomes people from different walks of life. This policy endears it to foreigners who are living or intend to live in Uganda.

“Your experience and career advancement at Victoria University will help you gain responsible and technically challenging positions in life. Be assured of increased sense of self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment and personal satisfaction when you enroll for a course at Victoria University. You will find welcoming classmates, engaging faculties, and a built-in community that will help you feel at home.” The University said in a statement.

Employment Oriented Education

No one goes to university without the desire to get a job or create one. Therefore preparing students for employment is a key mantle under which Victoria University operates. The University makes sure that graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career.

Input is provided from researchers, current market and industry practitioners, professional bodies to ensure that the curriculum and content fed to learners are up-to-date and relevant. The University has a dedicated Career Service team which is always at hand to assist students on embarking on their chosen career after graduation.

The University has also nurtured a very good working relationship with government ministries, agencies and departments and the private sector institutions and market leaders. Through this relationship they are able to get internship positions for their students for hands on training in a working environment.

Qualified Staff

Dr. Isabalija confesses that getting the right tutors to teach students to the level Victoria University desires is a hard task especially for demanding courses like oil and gas and health related courses.

He however reveals that they have managed to assemble a teaching staff that is doing a good job. The Ruparelia Group which owns the University has cut a niche in the education sector and ensured that the University does not only have the right facilities but also personnel.

For example, the admissions office provides a comprehensive resource for prospective students and current students to make the process of admissions hassle-free, flawless and as straightforward as possible while the University Council is a deliberative and broadly representative forum which exists to consider the activities of the University in all its phases.

Shell V-Power Club Members Rewarded

Vivo Energy Uganda, last year created a Shell V-Power club to establish a community of like-minded car enthusiasts and Shell V-Power fans to meet, socialize, establish networks, and share car related information, tips and ideas.

The members each signed up for a Shell V-power card which earns them points whenever they consume Shell V-Power at any Shell service station across the country. Every litre of Shell V-Power consumed earns the customer 10 points, and the highest consumers are rewarded every month.

Vivo Energy together with Etihad Airways and Serena Hotel, have once again rewarded V-Power club members who consumed the highest volumes of V-Power in the month of July, with different prizes. The prizes included a set of 4 tyres, a 2-week end gate-away at the Lake Victoria Serena Hotel and branded tool kits

Speaking while awarding the winners at Serena Hotel, Vivo Energy country sales manager, Edward Walugembe, said the campaign is aimed at rewarding existing customers to boost loyalty among them, as well as to encourage other motorists to try the brand.

“Shell V-Power customers will have the double benefit of winning different prizes such as a trip to Abu-Dhabi, with all air tickets being sponsored by Etihad airways, complementary fuel, a set of tyres and week end gate away at Lake Victoria Serena Hotel among others, as well as   enhancing the performance of their cars by using the high performance fuel, helping them get the most out of every drop” said Walugembe.

“We are seeing an increasing uptake of Shell V-Power especially by motor bikes looking to save on fuel. This is as a result of their appreciation of the fuel’s capability to enhance everyday driving performance and responsiveness,” He concluded.

The fuel has been formulated to meet with the latest environmental standards, as it is designed to reduce engine deposits, helping engines achieve optimum combustion, ultimately making them produce less emissions.

600 Cancer Specialists To Get EADB Training

A specialised programme launched in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Friday, 12 August 2016, will see 600 cancer specialists train in fighting non-communicable diseases like cancer and neurological disorders in East Africa in the next four years. The capacity building Medical Training and Fellowships Programme is an initiative of East African Development Bank (EADB) and the British Council in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians (London).

The Director General of the East African Development Bank Ms Vivienne Yeda speaking during the launch of the Programme said focus will be on early detection, research and treatment of cancer and neurological disorders in areas where access to qualified professionals remains a challenge. 

The training comes at a time when the number of cancer cases worldwide is expected to surge by 75% during the next two decades according to WHO Cancer Research. Deaths from cancers have been on the increase in the East African region, with 50 Kenyans dying daily from various forms of cancer. The trend is the same across East Africa, with the main cause being associated with lack of treatment facilities and expertise for treatment, prevention and early detection.

Ms.Yeda said the East Africa Community has for a long time failed to prevent and treat the cancer scourge because of lack of trained and skilled doctors. The ratio of doctor to population in the region is far below the UN standards.

“Through the East Africa Development Bank Medical Training and Fellowship Programme, we hope over the long term to equip doctors in district hospitals across East Africa with the skills to effectively and promptly diagnose cancer and neurological disorders and facilitate early interventions either at the point of contact or by referral for advanced medical care." 

She added that the programme was an additional investment in the growing list of interventions by the bank to boost skill and capacity to key sectors of the East African economy. The Bank currently supports a scholarship programme for teachers in the US as well as capacity building programme for East African public sector lawyers in the extractive industries. 

"The East African Community with a population of more than 135 million has great economic potential, but non-communicable diseases are a major threat to this regions quest to achieve socio-economic development," said Ms. Yeda.

In the first 3 years of the project, the programme will conduct a series of East-Africa based residential 5-day training courses in neurology and oncology. These will be delivered by a mixed faculty from the UK and East Africa. They will be complemented by a two-year specialist academic and clinical training in the UK for a select number of high cadre doctors in these two disciplines. 

The British Council Regional Director for Sub Saharan Africa, Mandy Johnson said the programme will create opportunities for doctors within the East African region who aspire to specialise in the medical disciplines of oncology and neurology. Their training will bring much needed skills to the communities they serve.

"We are pleased that the partnership with EADB and the Royal College of Physicians brings global expertise into the East African Region and will lead to a rich exchange of skills, expertise and experience. We hope that the programme will lead to better health for the people of East Africa," Said Mandy Johnson, the British Council Regional Director for Sub Saharan Africa.

At the same time the CEO of the Royal College of Physicians Ian Bullock, added that the programme will aid in improving not only the skills of the doctors but also help in saving lives;

"I am extremely proud that we have this opportunity to use our expertise to support our colleagues in the East African region. This programme is an excellent example of the Royal College of Physician's aim to improve care for patients and to develop physicians throughout their career by increasing access to high quality postgraduate training."

What You Need To Know About Shell Fuelsave Fuel And Win Reloaded Promo

For the third year, Shell FuelSave recently launched a country wide promotion that will give consumers a chance to win free Shell FuelSave Unleaded petrol and Shell FuelSave Diesel for up to one year.

The promotion is intended to appreciate and reward customers for their loyalty and support in purchasing Shell branded fuels and lubricants.

How to enter the Fuel and Win Reloaded promotion:

Fuel with a minimum of 50,000/= shillings or more of Shell FuelSave at any Shell service station to receive your unique code coupon. Then simply dial short code *295#, select option 2 and enter the unique code on the coupon. You will receive a message notifying you of your successful entry into the promotion.

What is the cost of the SMS?

Each Short code entry will cost you UGX 220/-. NOTE: You can send a maximum of 2 codes in one SMS separated by a space and meeting the 140 character condition.

What if you’re not given a coupon?

You are entitled to one coupon for every 50,000/= shillings worth of Shell FuelSave. If you spend 100,000/= shillings for example, you will be entitled to two unique code coupons. You are required to enter all these codes into the short code.

How to redeem prize?

Once you receive a call from Vivo Energy 0312210010, prepare to collect/redeem your prize by verifying your identity.  You should have the phone number that entered the promotion, a valid ID and the coupon to redeem your prize.

Fuel prize winners up to 300,000 will be awarded using unique fuel vouchers while fuel prize winners up to UGX 3,000,000 will be awarded using a Shell Card (prepaid) to redeem their prize / access free fuel.

What if my coupon is misplaced or damaged yet I have been notified as a winner, what happens?

In the event that your coupon is misplaced or damaged and you have been notified about being a winner, we shall use the mobile umber used to enter the promotion and other identification to confirm winners. Please call the toll free number 0800200400 or Vivo Energy’s telephone number +256312210010; available from 8:00am to 5:00 pm for further assistance.

Should I expect specific communication from a specified source if am a winner?

All winners will be notified by +256312210010. Do not respond to any other numbers that call you or send SMS to you. If you require confirmation on legitimacy of the calls, please call the toll free number 0800200400 or Vivo Energy’s telephone number +256312210010; available from 8:00am to 5:00 pm for further assistance.

Do I have to visit a specific Shell station to redeem my prize?

All monthly winners will specify their preferred Shell Station that they will redeem free fuel from. The grand draw winners can use their Shell Card to redeem fuel at any Shell Station countrywide.

Is there a deadline for claiming my prize?

Yes. All weekly prizes must be claimed 7 days after customer is contacted. Monthly & grand draw prizes after 30 days of contacting the customer.

Should I get a message that my coupon has already been used, what should I do?

In the event that a consumer sends a unique code that has already been used, the consumer will receive a message notification about the same. You should call the toll free number 0800200400 or Vivo Energy’s telephone number +256312210010; available from 8:00am to 5:00 pm for further assistance.

Supposing I just come up with a code and send, can you tell?

In the event that you compose a blank text message, guess code or you mistype the unique code on the coupon, you will receive a regret message saying “Unique code invalid. Please call +256 312210010 for clarification.”

Cakes Are As Important As Food Is

Times have really changed and surely even traditions have changed. As cakes and chocolates were mainly female amenities for a perfect celebration, times have changed this notion. A cake is now a necessity at all celebrations just like birthdays are no longer for only women but for men as well.

While speaking to the Sheraton’s Marketing director Jennifer Musiime she explicitly agreed with the belief that cakes are no longer stereotyped for only ladies but it’s something that makes any celebration worthwhile and this stretches to all kinds of celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings to mention but a few. 

She further agrees that cakes used to be for weddings and serious celebration however this has changed over time to having cakes anytime and for every celebration. At Sheraton we have a confectionery shop called Temptations and I am very confident and comfortable to say we make the best affordable cakes in Kampala.

With black forest being one the most famous cakes, we have other flavors that our customers can chose from at an affordable price. She added. 

Additionally, cake is not only for celebrations but can be eaten after a meal as desert, at breakfast or as a snack. Cakes have numerous health benefits like cakes baked specifically using the dark chocolate contain Flavanols and catechins that resist the damage caused by the oxidation process and thus cakes acting as anti-oxidants agents.

It has also been proven that cakes are stress relievers especially those with chocolate because of the sugar in them that is converted into glucose and thus energy which triggers a happy and relaxed mood. 

Cakes that contain fruits like apples, berries, carrots and pineapples are a good source of fiber and high-fiber diets are known to help in better digestion. Regular intake of cakes containing the above named fruits will help increase the fiber level in your body thus improved digestion and thus reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

Bodybuilders or people who want to add on mass are advised to include cake in their diet because it has a couple of nutrients like vitamins, calcium; and proteins which are body-building foods and also provides energy which is needed when training in the gym. 

It should however be noted that cakes are not to be taken on a daily basis since they are not a whole package of a balanced diet. They should be taken once in a while and remember to always take a balanced diet for healthy living.

Martin Kiseka a cake baker at Sheraton’s Temptation cakes says cakes have always been part of celebrations and generally art of meals. Cakes come in different flavors, shapes, colors and sizes depending on what an individual want. Cakes also vary in the ingredients used for instance foam and spongy cakes, tortes, unbaked cakes, yeast cakes, flourless or less flour cakes, egg and oil cakes among others.

Many cakes bakers are creatively coming up with more varieties of cakes and this is mainly because of changing trends in tastes, costs and many others. At temptations we have adopted most of the famous cakes like black forest, red velvet to mention but a few and we can also make cakes of your preference.

Mount Elgon: Exploring The Giant Of The East

As you approach Mbale district in the East of Uganda, you will see across in the distance a looming dark object covered by mist or scattered clouds. The object magnifies when you get to Mbale, standing in all its glory as a guardian angel watching over the quaint town and its people.

Mount Elgon or Masaba, has one of the world’s largest intact caldera and with an estimated elevation of 10,070 ft above sea level, the highest known peak is called Wagagai. The extinct volcano is estimated to be over 24 million years old and sits on the border between Uganda and Kenya, with the largest portion being found in the former. 

The Uganda Wildlife Authority page explains that Mount Elgon was built up from lava debris that blew out from an enlarged volcanic vent during the pliocene epoch or system of rocks deposited. The mountain’s geological formation is dominated by basaltic materials and is a number of weathered granite at the basement complex.

It is reported that carbonatite intrusions on the lower slopes after causing fenitization of the granites, rendered them sensitive to the instability on the slopes. The climate around Mount Elgon can be classified as generally rainy, with the occasional months of sunny weather through the year. 

Mount Elgon is one of the oldest physical features in Uganda and is home to over four tribes including those from Kenya. However in Uganda, it is most known for being the home of the Bagisu, a bantu tribe that occupies most of the slopes of the mountain.

The slopes of Mountain Elgon have fertile soils that have been used to grow some of the best coffee in the world, Arabica. The slopes are also conducive for yams, cassava, bananas, beans and maize among other perennial foods that can be easily sustained in the area by the farmers. 

The mountain is also home to the Mount Elgon National Park that is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for the government of Uganda. The park covers stretches over into Kenya and is home to different animals including the red-tailed monkeys, elephants and buffalos which can mostly be seen at the slopes of the mountains.

Within the park you will find over 300 species of birds that migrate through the region, including those native to the country; some of the birds are said to be endangered species. A list that any ardent birdwatcher would not pass up on. 

Though not well known in the country, the Mount Elgon National Park is open all year round and has been attracting several hikers trying their luck at scaling their way to the Wagagai summit. The region has so much tourism potential for the country; you can explore several caves on the hiking trail such as the crystalline walled Kitum cave and enjoy the beautiful views at the Endebess escarpment, which includes several of the rivers in the region (River Manafwa, Kufu) and the gorges.

There are forest walks organised by the Uganda Wildlife officials to show visitors some of the different species of vegetation in the forests which include bamboo trees, mahogany, eucalyptus, pine scattered through the park and the slopes of the mountain. 

Apart from the thick vegetation being home to the birds and small animals, it is home to different rare species of butterflies that can be viewed in the area during the walks.

One of the most beautiful views from the mountain are the falls; Sipi, Simu and Sisi falls that cascade from the rocks and create a   of water and light. Located in Kapchwora, the Sipi falls are the most visited in the area and are worthy adding on your tour itinerary when exploring the Elgon. 

The areas around the mountain are slowed down by the poor road development that could easily improve on the traffic and few good travel lodges as compared to Western Uganda that has many lodges in the parks.

Alot more effort needs to be put on promoting the tourism potential of Eastern Uganda for the region to become a budding tourist hub; the same way the West is promoted. This will help improve returns on tourism in the country.

Even so, the areas below the slopes such as Mbale have good accommodation such as hotels, lodges and hostels that travellers can stay in to prepare and rest up after they have had a wonderful day up at the mountain. 

This article was written Jumia Travel

 About Jumia Travel is Africa's No.1 hotel booking website, allowing you to get the best prices for more than 25,000 hotels in Africa and more than 200,000 hotels around the world. Our ambition is to bring every bit of available accommodation online, and to create the easiest and cheapest way for customers to book it.

At Jumia Travel, we have hundreds of travel specialists constantly in touch with our customers. Our offices are located in Lagos (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Algiers (Algeria), Douala (Cameroon), Kampala (Uganda), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Porto (Portugal) and Paris (France).

Before June 2016, Jumia Travel was known as Jovago. Jumia Travel was founded in 2013 by Jumia and is backed by MTN, Rocket Internet, Millicom, Orange, Axa and financial partners.




When the light hits the water at a certain point in the day creating a beautiful array of lights

We Are Making Ugandan Hotels Visible To The World – Jumia Travel

The hotel business is central in the development of a tourism industry in any given country. It is even more important in developing countries like Uganda where foreign tourists think twice before deciding to board the plane. For hotels in a country like Uganda must be in a good shape, with good services and well marketed.

In Uganda, Jumia Travel, formerly Jovago, is doing the job of showcasing Ugandan hotels on the wide wild web as Louis Badea, Jumia Travel country manager explains in this exclusive Question and Answer interview recently conducted by Earthfinds Editor Baz Waiswa. Read on.

What do you really do as a business?

Basically I manage the operations of Jumia Travel in Uganda. We are the first online hotel booking website in Africa. Jumia Travel is a portal on which travelers, guests and customers can find and book hotels for accommodation and meetings.

You recently rebranded from Jovago to Jumia Travel, how is this going to accelerate your business deepening in Africa?

We used to be part of a group called Africa Internet Group (AIG), now called Jumia Group, which owns a number of websites includes Jovago now Jumia Travel, Hellofood now Jumia Food, Everjobs now Jumia Jobs, Kaymu now Jimia Market among others.

Jumia was the most famous brand especially in Kenya and Nigeria. So our management considered that since this Jumia venture was popular and appreciated by our customers, they saw that if we ran all the ventures under the Jumia name, we would get more visibility and traffic.

Therefore we joined our strength to grow. Of course we were worried a bit, it’s a big change, but the impact is really good, people are curious, our traffic has increased and now people know that they can get whatever they want in one place.

One month after you rebranded, how has the Uganda market reacting to the change of name?

In Uganda we are seeing an increase in traffic but at the same time we did it at the beginning of a high season, the business is good. We have seen increase in traffic and hotel bookings.

You have been in Uganda for a year now, how have you performed as compared to your business plan and projections?

We have performed quite well. When we came here we used to cover only a few parts of the country, now we have hotels everywhere in Uganda. We are in western Uganda - Kisoro, Kabale, all the national parks, Mbarara; central region – Kampala, Entebbe; eastern region - Malaba, Mbale and in the north.

We have done well in terms of improved hotel content on our website. When you visit the website, you will see good pictures and accurate information. We make sure that our prices are competitive. We have good diversity of hotels on our web portal.

All a customer has to do is to go on the website, select the destination you are going to, for example is its Gulu, you select Gulu, filter through the list of the hotels in Gulu according to amenities you are want then select the number of rooms and nights you will spend there. On this page, you make a choice of how you want to make the payment.

You can pay by credit card, Mobile Money or cash at the hotel. The hotel gives us the rates. We can advise them according to the season or start promotions to attract customers. On the Mobile App, hotels can update the prices and details of what they are offering.

What have been some of the challenges operating in Uganda so far?

The challenge, I would say in Uganda, especially in national parks, is that the lodges are expensive if you compare with other countries say South Africa. Here we still lack middle range affordable lodges. Sometimes we have cheap tents but it is hard to find lodges of $100 -&200. It is the same with hotels in Kampala, there are many good quality hotels but very expensive.

We sometime we have issues with internet to communicate. We wanted to book for a client in Juba but we couldn’t, six months ago we wanted to book in Bujumbura but the network had been cut off so we were not able to confirm the bookings.  Political instability is a problem, if there is a war we cannot do business, this is a challenge but we keep our customers informed.

Sometime the hotels don’t have trained staff or they don’t communicate to their employees. We have signed contracts with hotels but when clients reach the hotels, the receptionists don’t receive them well because management has not informed them of our arrangement.

The other challenge is locating hotels. Many hotels are located in places with no plot numbers so finding them is a problem. Some cannot be tracked on GPS.

And the achievements?

Every month hotel booking are growing and we have grown the number of hotels on our website. We have also seen the number of reviews increase on the website which means people are appreciating our services.

We have been able to give visibility to hotels in Uganda. 60 percent (about 400 hotels) of hotels on our web portal are marketing online for the first time. We give them that chance to get business and visibility on our website. This is good achievement for us.

Uganda is taking a giant step marketing itself as a top tourism destination, as a stakeholder, what are you willing to contribute to this cause?

Uganda is less popular than Kenya and Tanzania when it comes to tourism mostly due to lack of visibility. Most people outside Africa think Amin Dada is still here, this is because Uganda doesn’t market herself enough. We try to market Uganda – tell the world that Uganda is safe and cheap.

We try to tell the world that travelling to Uganda is possible. We connect travelers from all over the world to hotels in Uganda. For example a traveler from Tokyo can find a hotel in Uganda before coming down here at competitive rates. We make sure hotels in Uganda get visibility from all over the world.

How many Ugandan hotels have you listed on your web portal?

It should be about 800 hotels – 200 hotels in Kampala. We register new hotels all the time. For hotels to be on our platform they need to have two ways of payment – pre-payment and post payment – meaning people can pay using credit cards or Mobile Money or book and pay at the hotel. Most of the guests book online and pay at the hotel.

Other amenities that customers consider when booking are WIFI (37%), swimming pool (26%), bed and breakfast (17%, AC (15%) and transport (5%). If the hotel doesn’t provide these services then there is quite a problem. Booking by star hotel rating stands at 1 star hotels (3%), 2 star hotels (31%), 3 star hotels (46%), 4 star hotels (17%) and 5 Star hotels (7%).

As an institution that deals with hotels, what is your earnest comment on the quality and seriousness of Ugandan hotels?

I think they are good; the lodges are good but expensive, then if we look at Kampala, very many good hotels are coming up. We also have hotels that lack renovation. Sometimes there is lack of customer services training but I know Uganda Hotel Owners Association is working on it. Sometime the hotel staff is not well trained.

Where do these hotels need to improve?

They should make sure the operations manager is good. They should train people. Sometimes when you go to TripAdvisor you find hotels with bad reviews but their managers have not bothered to respond. It also happens even on our website, it is important to check reviews and respond.

If I am the manager, I make sure I check all the reviews and train my staff to ensure that whatever made the customer to complain doesn’t happen again. When you have good services, you get good reviews and ranking improves.

What do travelers look out for in a hotel? What are their expectations?

It is mainly WIFI, swimming pool, good food, good staff and good value for what they are going to pay. So the prices you put must match with what you are offering. Hotels sometimes think that all expatriates earn $10, 000, so they think all Mzungu can pay $600 for a room.

Hotels should have affordable prices. Not all tourists can afford to pay for a $500 a night. Hotels should pay attention to customer demands, what is happening in the market to stay competitive.

What type of travelers’ book for hotels in Uganda on your website?

50% of bookings are made from inside Uganda then from Kenya. So it is Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, UK and US. We get lots of people from Kenya. We don’t ask for nationalities but we can only trace IP addresses. They are usually business travelers.

What are you planes for the coming years, what should Uganda expect from Jumia Travel?

We are going to start offline marketing, go out and meet people in the streets, sponsor events and sign up hotels. We will continue offering better services and improve our Mobile App to enable hotel owners manage their content better. We have a partnership with Uganda Hotel Owners to do training. We will handle topics like marketing and customer care.

East Africa Starts Fight Against Tuberculosis

Over 200 researchers, policy makers and doctors met at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha to deliberate on the challenges the EA countries faced in diagnosing and treating of tuberculosis (TB).

The meeting also kicked off an initiative to fight tuberculosis out of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda last Friday. TB affects over 60% of people with HIV/Aids and it is one of the diseases that most disturbs diabetes patients.

The three East African countries are among the 22 TB high burden countries in the world and this project taps into the regional expertise of East African researchers, practitioners and policy makers to deal with the disease.

However, before TB can be defeated, participants called upon concerted efforts to help reduce poverty in the region. Prof Gibson Sammy Kibiki, the head of the East African Community Health and Research Commission said, "If we want to fight poverty in the real sense, we have to fight diseases."

The project codenamed Tuberculosis: Working to Empower Nations Diagnostic Efforts (TWENDE), aims at coming up with the regional roadmap to facilitate the eradication of TB within the World Health organization target of 2035.

"When we bring together our expertise, we can translate our research into policy and practice," said Dr Nyanda Elias Ntinginya, the Principal investigator for TWENDE in Tanzania while underscoring the need to fight TB at regional level.

"TB knows no borders", Dr Nyanda said at the press conference earlier on Friday morning, highlighting the fact that East Africans are now mobile and therefore move with the disease.

Participants called upon governments of East Africa to pay attention to poverty as it is a key driving factor in the spread of TB.

"TB is a disease of poverty, overcrowding and malnutrition," said Dr Ewan Chirnside from the University of St Andrews in U.K. which is the lead institution in the TWENDE consortium.

Prof Christopher Garimoi Orach from Makerere University added that poverty leads to TB through malnutrition and lack of access to medical care due to financial difficulties. He called upon governments to invest in communities that are prone to TB by offering them social security.

TWENDE will be focusing on innovations in diagnostics as a way of preventing TB, early detection and treatment.

The project will be working with researchers at Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute, Tanzania National Institute of Medical Research, Makerere University and CPAR Uganda Ltd.

About 300,000 people in East Africa get TB every year.

Dr Evans Amukoye of KMRI said Kenya reports about 120,000 new TB cases every year. Dr Alphonse Okwera who heads Uganda's TB unit at Mulago Hospital says 50,000 cases are reported in Uganda while Dr Nyanda says 68,000 cases are reported in Tanzania.

Dr Okwera highlighted the bad alliance between HIV, AIDS and TB, as a deadly combination for victims.

"You cannot deal with TB effectively without dealing with HIV," added Dr Wilber Sabiiti, the lead researcher for TWENDE.

Jumia Becomes One Stop Online Destination In Africa

Africa Internet Group last week took a bold step in deepening its business on the African continent by rebranding all their nine platforms to Jumia. The company said the change will connect its companies into Jumia’s ecosystem with a new vision, "Expand your horizons".

This means that all services will bear the name Jumia -- with a focus on their main activity: Jumia Market (kaymu) / Travel (jovago) / Food (hellofood) / Deals (vendito) / House (lamudi) / Jobs (everjobs) / Car (carmudi) / Services (AIGX).

Ron Kanawamara of Africa Internet Group said all services will be interconnected so that customers can easily browse from one Jumia service to another in one click. “We are taking the entire economy online, enabling small, medium and large African companies to find new customers and serve them in a new way,” Kanawamra said at a conference.

“Additionally, we will allow all our customers to navigate seamlessly across all our platforms with the same login credentials - so they don’t have to re-enter their information when navigating on a new platform,” Kanawamara added.

Kanawamara revealed that over 500,000 local companies are making business on Jumia every day and that more than 10,000 brands are building their awareness on Jumia, local logistics companies are delivering millions of packages every year thanks to Jumia.

After 4 years of successfully establishing and growing its online services as leaders in their markets, Africa Internet Group, now Jumia, has become the number one E-commerce platform in Africa.

“We founded our companies with a very strong belief: Internet can improve people’s lives in Africa. Uniting all services allows us to better help our customers fulfill their daily aspirations. This is all possible because people connect to our platform to access those services and products in an environment that we have designed for them, addressing their needs and expectations on quality, choice, price, trust and convenience.” said Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, founders and co-CEOs of Jumia.

People can now find on Jumia all their needs; branded products with Jumia : fashion and electronics with Jumia (prev. Jumia and Kaymu)], local sellers with Jumia Market (prev. Kaymu), hotel booking with Jumia Travel (Jovago), food delivery with Jumia Food (Hellofood), Jumia House (Lamudi), Jumia Jobs and (Everjobs) and lastly logistics services with Jumia Services (AIGX).

Furthermore, sellers will also benefit from this move, by getting access to more traffic and to a greater world of opportunities. Every day, Jumia helps and encourages restaurants, hotels, local sellers, brands, real estate agents, car dealers, large companies and logistic companies to become better, bigger in performance thus creating positive impact for Africa.

The founders reiterated that, “Operating under the same brand name reinforces the legitimacy of proposing other services to our customers and to our sellers. We want to have one strong brand that is trusted and loved by our customers across Africa”.

Jumia’s new vision, “Expand your horizons”, expresses the group’s ambition to transform people’s lives through internet, overcoming the ground market challenges of the continent and giving all Africans the opportunity to access high quality services and products everywhere.

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