World Bank tips Uganda on investments

By Pascal Kwesiga

In order to increase the impact of public investments, Uganda should invest in high-impact areas such as education and agriculture.

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PIC: Christina Malmberg Calvo, country representative of World Bank Group (left) chats with Joseph Muvawala, the executive director of National Planning Authority during a press conference in Kampala on Monday. (Credit: Miriam Namutebi)


KAMPALA - The World Bank has said Uganda should focus public investment on high impact projects in the implementation of the second National Development Plan (NDPII).

The bank’s country representative, Christina Malmberg Calvo, and the head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Uganda, Jennie Barugh, noted that previous studies indicate that public investment in the country is not generating the desired impact on the economy.

In order to increase the impact of public investments, they said Uganda should invest in high-impact areas such as education and agriculture as well as health to raise a healthy and educated population.

The public investment should not be concentrated on physical infrastructure.

“You can have these physical pieces of infrastructure but with uneducated or inadequately educated population. Both quality human capital and physical infrastructure will be important in Uganda’s aspirations to achieve middle-class income,” Malmberg added.

She was addressing the press about the new $12m (about sh46b) grant from DFID to Uganda.

The grant, which will be injected into what DFID and World Bank call “a trust fund”, will be used to assist the government to improve domestic resource mobilisation, enhance value for money from public investments and boost accountability and transparency.

The first phase of a similar “trust fund” managed by the World Bank and DFID ended in 2015.

The grant, which was launched Monday at the World Bank offices in Kampala, will run for about four years.

Barugh said the grant will be used to help the Government select the “right projects” and monitor their implementation.

“We shall do analytics and research about the projects that Uganda should undertake. We hope this will be a catalyst."

The executive director of the National Planning Authority (NPA), Joseph Muvawala, said the fund will be critical in funding research about the country’s development needs before conceiving projects.

“You know we implemented only about 50% of the NPDI [National Development Plan I]. If we do not change the way we select and implement projects, the same might happen to NDPII,” he said.