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Uganda’s road to a middle income economy in 2040

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Added 27th May 2019 07:15 AM

According to Uganda Vision 2040, implementation has started and is a responsibility for all citizens

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According to Uganda Vision 2040, implementation has started and is a responsibility for all citizens

By Patience Mubangizi

Uganda Vision 2040 is a plan to transform Uganda to a middle-income economy in 2040. Uganda Vision statement is entitled ‘’A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 Years’’ (National Planning Authority, April 2013). The vision is spearheaded by H.E. Y.K.Museveni, the President of Uganda.

The vision reflects the citizens’ aspirations for a peaceful, prosperous and secure country with good governance, good infrastructure, a growing economy, comprehensive social security, quality education and health care and a healthy environment.

Uganda is endowed with natural resources such as ample fertile land, good climate and regular rainfall, freshwater lakes and rivers, geographic location, minerals and oil. Because of these resources, Uganda economy has great potential for growth and development.

The population of Uganda was 34.6 million (UBOS, 2014) but is now estimated at 42.86 million (World Bank, 2017). The country covers an area of 241,038 square kilometres. Uganda GDP was 26.39 Billion with agriculture contributing 22.4%, industry 26.4% and services 51.2% (Uganda Vision, 2013). The World Bank also posted GDP growth at 5.5 % and inflation at 5.8%. 

Review of Uganda Vision 2040

Uganda Vision 2040 aims at transforming Uganda from a low income to a middle-income country targeting to raise GDP from US $ 26 Billion (2016) to US $ 580 Billion (2040), and a per capita income from of US $ 506 (2010) to US $ 9500 (2040). To achieve this, the vision indicates that 8.2% growth of GDP must be maintained.  

The vision concept concentrates on developing key economic sectors of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries; services; water resources; energy and minerals; tourism; oil and gas; transport; urbanisation; science, technology, engineering and innovation; land use and management; ICT; labour and employment; industry and manufacturing.

The vision is planned to thrive through sound policies of a free market economy, oil and gas development, attraction of foreign investments, value addition for exports, appropriate tax regimes, land reforms for the acquisition of land for urbanisation, industry and commercial agriculture. It is indicated that its success will also be by the fundamental principles of national political will, ownership by stakeholders, availability of resources to implement planned programmes, balancing development through key economic sectors plus changing public mindsets positively.

On social transformation by 2040, the vision aims at quality standard of living, raising life expectancy to 85 years of age, reducing infant mortality rates to 4 per 1000, increasing literacy rates to 95%, reducing unemployment rate to 6%, reducing population below poverty lines to 5%, increasing housing units by 12.6 million, ensuring gender equality and women empowerment, quality environment, employment and good governance, establishing social security and health insurance schemes.

According to Uganda Vision 2040, implementation has started and is a responsibility for all citizens. HE, the President will provide the overall executive direction of the vision. Office of the Prime Minister will play the role of coordination while the National Planning Authority (NPA) will be the implementation agency for National Development Plans (10 year NDP, 5 year NDP), sector master plans, Local Government Development Plans, annual plans and budgets. NPA will coordinate the participation of all concerned ministries and their departments, other relevant agencies and stakeholders.

It is also stated that the vision will be financed mainly by the Government, the private sector, and development partners.

The vision identifies key projects for implementation to include Hi-Tech ICT city and associated ICT infrastructure, large irrigation schemes, phosphorous industry, iron ore industry, development of 5 regional and strategic cities, four international airports, standard gauge railway, oil refinery and pipeline, paved national roads, skills development centres, science and technology parks in each regional city, international and national referral hospitals in each regional city, generate 42,000 megawatts of electricity.

During vision implementation, monitoring progress and evaluation of these projects will be carried out within the mechanisms of the National Development Plans. 

Economic Facts about Singapore, a Middle Income Economy.

Singapore is an island Republic in South East Asia with a population of 5,612,700 (Statistics Singapore, 2018), occupying a land area of 640 square. It is a highly developed free market economy, the 7th least corrupt, most pro-business and with low tax rates of 14% GDP. Its GDP is US $ 349.7 Billion (nominal, 2018 estimate) with a growth rate of 3.6% and per capita at US $ 61,766 (nominal, 2018 estimate).

On GDP per sector, agriculture contributes 0%, industry 26.6% and services 73.4% (2016 estimate). Inflation is at 0.4% (2016 estimate) while unemployment is rated at 2.1% (2017).

National revenues amount to US $ 69.45 Billion (2017).

Singapore depends on manufacturing electronic products, electrical appliances, semiconductors, microchips, integrated circuits, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, equipment, oil drilling, petroleum refining, offshore construction, rubber, food and beverages, financial services, ship repair and port activities.

Main export partners include China 13%, Hong Kong 13%, Malaysia 11%, EU 9%, Indonesia 8%, and others 47%. On the other hand, main import partners are China 14%, EU 14%, Malaysia 11%, US 11%, Taiwan 8%, others 47%. 

How Lee Kuan Yew Engineered Singapore Economy

Lee was the longest serving Prime Minister from 1959-1990. Singapore’s success is attributed to his vision on economic growth; making Singapore an investment destination; attracting world-class manpower bringing in the much needed capital and creating employment; building infrastructure; air and sea linkages to Malaysia, Japan, China, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Europe, United States, etc; low and transparent tax regime; honest and efficient bureaucracy; strong and regulatory legal framework; corruption intolerance; positive economic policies such as  flat condominium ownership, which helped to transition from villages to towns (urbanisation); integrated education system; fair and transparent judiciary; institutional framework; changing people’s mindset by being hospitable to immigrants; developing a highly technocratic government which formulated result based economic policies; value addition industries; world’s leading financial centre; aviation, logistics and shipping hub; regional headquarters for multinational corporations; comprehensive social security scheme (Wikipedia). 

Challenges to Uganda Vision 2040

Uganda has identified vision challenges to be overcome. These are low competitiveness, weak public sector management, lack of national ideology, low value addition industrialisation, corruption, limited Government investment in strategic industries, insufficient infrastructure base, inadequate skilled labour force, low level of saving and revenue collection. 

The Way Forward

Given the preceding reviews of Uganda Vision 2040 and its challenges, a way forward will be by addressing the vision challenges and carrying out the priority projects as identified in the vision and National Development Plans to include, among others, the following:

  1. Commercial agriculture, irrigation schemes, and fisheries, plus agro processing.
  2. Value addition manufacturing.
  3. Services provision such as High Tech ICT, transport, banking, trade and commerce.
  4. Intensification of infrastructure (roads, standard gauge railway, airports, water transport).
  5. Oil and gas commercial production that is corruption free and environmentally friendly.
  6. Energy production targeting 42,000 Megawatts through hydro, geothermal, biomass, solar and nuclear sources.                       
  7. Minerals processing such as iron ore for iron and steel industry.
  8. Local labour force adequate skilling in various vocations related to economic sectors.
  9. Tourism development.
  10. Good governance where public service is technocratic, honest, effective, efficient, customer sensitive. 

The writer is a former special presidential assistant

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