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Can Nyege Nyege turn around Jinja’s economy?

This Thursday, the MTN Nyege Nyege festival will start, bringing in about 2,500 foreigners. For four days, Jinja will be the home of what is turning out to be one of the most popular music festivals and attraction for tourists around the region.

According to the organisers of the festival, this is an opportunity for festival tourism in the country. For instance, with just a few days to the Festival, Jinja town is already abuzz with activity, with accommodation rates in hotels and lodges shooting up.

“The MTN Nyege Nyege Festival is a lifestyle event. People are travelling from all over the world to watch the festival and this is an opportunity for Uganda. This is tourism. People flying in from all over the world to be part of a four-day festival. For the hotels and several businesses in Jinja, the festival will bring people to the town who will for four days increase business,” explains Olivier Prentout, the MTN Uganda chief marketing officer.

MTN are the title sponsors of the festival. The hotel bookings website, Jumia, points to a handful of rooms left in hotels in Jinja ahead of the festival.

This year, there will be four stages and more than 200 artistes performing at the event. The estimates indicate that about 10,000 people will attend the festival this year. Those numbers will likely boost the economy in Jinja.

According to Derek Debrew, the founder of the Nyege Nyege Festival, “In the long run, the festival will further increase the development of social services to match the increasing demand. This presents a revenue base from the tourism services envisioned.”

Importantly this year, the festival will also be trying to go cashless as MTN customers will be able to buy food and drinks using MTN MoMoPay.

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