Uganda plans US$1 billion development scheme

Uganda development plansUganda's five-year National Development Plan, which is set to expire in the next three years, is likely to move the East African nation into the mid-level economic tier and dramatically improve living standards by 2015, writes John Muchira

Still ranked among the poorest countries in the world, Uganda requires considerable investment in order to reach its goal.

A report by consulting firm Deloitte concluded that Uganda’s infrastructure alone would require a staggering US$15 billion of investment; an amount far beyond Uganda’s UGX 9.8 trillion (US$4.1 billion) 2011/12 budget.

The discovery of an estimated 2.5 billion barrels-worth of oil, however, has renewed the country’s hopes.

Chief executive of Kenyan-based think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, Kwame Owino, said “Uganda has a huge burden of foreign debt, which is at US$5.3 billion. Borrowing will only worsen the situation. The best bet of financing development projects now is oil revenues.” 

The government has put significant emphasis on transport projects ranging from roads, ports, railways, airports and public transport systems, under the belief that the improvement of the road and rail networks is a catalyst for driving growth and development.

A National Transport Master Plan has already been drafted, which clearly outlines how Uganda proposes to transform its transport sector. The plan has a price tag of $3.5 billion and is expected to be implemented over the next 10 years.

In the 2011/12 budget, the government allocated $540 million to fund various infrastructural projects, such as connecting various rural roads with major towns.

A total of $185 million has been set aside under the Uganda Road Fund to finance the rehabilitation and maintenance of various roads, and the country plans to invest $354 million into modernising the road networks in the capital city Kampala.

The projects earmarked include the construction of a toll road from Entebbe Airport to the capital Kampala and a flyover to connect the Jinja Road junction to Entebbe Road. 

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