3 years ago .
Exploiting opportunities in Greater Kampala
The joblessness, heavy congestion and floods that Kampala city faces sometimes cannot be addressed without a metropolitan mindset


By Peter Kaujju

On March 9, 2018, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda launched a report titled "From Regulators to Enablers: The role of City Governments in Economic Development of Greater Kampala".

The report followed a study conducted and funded by the World Bank with the purpose of providing economic analyses on the role Greater Kampala plays in achieving Uganda's economic goals outlined in Vision 2040 and the actions needed to open the economic potential of the Area.

About four years ago, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) sought assistance from the World Bank under the Non-Lending Technical Assistance (NLTA) to develop a City Economic Development Strategy to respond to the ever increasing demand for jobs, checking city congestion and poor public infrastructure. This was built on the foundation of an earlier effort by the African Development Bank to develop the Jinja- Entebbe- Kampala (JEK) Economic corridor in 2013 that never materialised.

At the same event, the National Planning Authority presented a draft strategy for addressing the challenges and exploiting opportunities that exist to better the lives of people economically and socially.

Since that day, many individuals have weighed in with a number of views and opinion about the same.

Here are some critical facts and an account of the journey this far about the report and the planned course of action.

In 2013, Cabinet approved the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Development framework 2040 funded by the World Bank loan and it was subsequently gazetted by the Government as a special planning area. Please note that special planning area does not remove geographical boundaries nor administrative functions of those areas. It rather seeks to address the overarching challenges and enhance coordination as well as planning in the area in a more harmonised way.

GKMA covers 970sq km, including KCCA, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi districts.

This area accommodates 10% of Uganda's population as residents, 46% of all those in formal employment work here and contributes 65% to GDP.

The report highlights unemployment, disconnectedness, costly business environment and weak private sector capacity across the GMKA as the most pressing challenges daunting the area. However, it quickly points to the fact that Kampala's economic muscle generating 31.2 % contribution to GNP, centre of education and tourism as great opportunity that can be enhanced for increased productivity.

The report highlighted that 57% of the jobs are in the informal sector and 93% of all firms are under micro, small and medium scale enterprises supporting a day population estimated at 5 million people that depend on the city economy. According to the greater Kampala physical development plan, it is projected that by 2040, the population in Greater Kampala metropolitan area will be 10 million ,which calls for joint and harmonised planning.

Transforming urban leaders from regulators to facilitators of private sector development- the theme of the report, becomes a critical paradigm shift to embrace. The findings, recommendation and the strategy are critical for all stakeholders at all levels of governance, central and local to pay attention to.

Based on those challenges mentioned in the report, there was an institutional committee co-led by the National Planning Authority, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, KCCA and the tourism ministry under a planners' forum to generate strategies for better coordination.

The forum has set five strategic objectives or areas of focus to achieve the GKMA objectives under a shared vision of ‘A Greater Kampala united towards job creation, improved livability and a sustainable development for all its citizens'.

The areas include;

1. Competitive economic infrastructure, which focusses on strategic roads programmes, public transportation and affordable housing.

2. Conserving and protection of environmental assets to create a green city with focus on comprehensive solid waste management, wet lands and waterways.

3. Business support to transform the informal sector, youth and economics empowerment groups.

4. Tourism development in the area.

5. Effective city and local government service delivery.

Those will be the critical areas of collaboration.

The joblessness, heavy congestion and floods that Kampala city faces sometimes cannot be addressed without a metropolitan mindset. The city has continued to grow organically beyond its boundaries into the metropolitan municipalities of Mpigi, Wakiso and Mukono are functionally connected to Kampala. 

We are already experiencing the collaboration yielding results in the planning design and tendering of the Kabusu-Bunamwaya-Lweza Road that is going through three local governments. The implementation of the European Union-funded climate change initiative, where Kampala is supporting Entebbe to develop the municipal Climate Change action plan is another example of collaboration. The co-operation framework, therefore, will help provide an alternative to co-ordinate and harmonise physical and strategic planning with all critical stakeholders in the metropolitan area and that's the direction being taken.

Such framework will be supported by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Working Group as laid down in the national development plan 2 that will be responsible for guidance on key strategic policies needed to transform Greater Kampala into a major Economic hub.

The writer is the head of public and corporate affairs at the Kampala Capital City Authority