World Bank report praises investing in Uganda

Business & Economy

Investing in Greater Kampala will not only benefit residents, but the rest of Uganda, according to a World Bank report. Titled From Regulators to Enablers: Role of City Governments in Economic Development of Greater Kampala, the report says that progress will depend on local city governments working together to jointly plan and implement policies, undertake infrastructure investments, and provide common services.

Like many other metropolitan cities, Kampala’s future depends on the prosperity of the secondary and tertiary towns around it – geographically known as the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA). Working together, these local governments, notably, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi district together with the Kampala Capital City Authority can mobilise capital to finance coordinated infrastructure investments across the GKMA for greater impact. It is critical that investments are prioritized through dialogue and consultation with the private sector and civil society to ensure they are feasible.

“Over two-thirds of Greater Kampala’s businesses are informal. Local governments need to enable small and micro-entrepreneurs to access affordable, well-located land and premises, and provide public transport to link people with jobs and enterprises with customers,” said Christina Malmberg Calvo, World Bank Country Manager in Uganda.

While Greater Kampala accounts for only about 10% of Uganda’s population, it generates a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 46 percent of its formal workers. To underscore Greater Kampala’s multiplier effect for the rest of the country, economic modelling in this report shows that every dollar invested in food processing in the capital city results in an estimated increase in consumption of 0.58 cents for people within Greater Kampala, and 0.63 cents for people in the rest of the country.

“There is need for policy makers to take a long-term view of development of Greater Kampala–so that investments are structured to take into account the long-term development of the city. To do this, it is critical that the city governments that make up the GKMA work together to make the Greater Kampala a productive as well as liveable city,” said Sameh Wahba, World Bank Director, Urban and Territorial Development and Disaster Risk Management.

The report recommends:1) investing in transport and economic infrastructure, such as roads and markets, to improve access within the city and to markets; (2) land use management in partnership with large landowners to facilitate access to land for local enterprises; (3) partnering with the private sector to provide support services to local firms such as tax education and skills development; and 4) establishing a Greater Kampala Working Group to convene stakeholders and marshal political support.

The Government is currently finalizing preparation of an Economic and Development Strategy for the Greater Kampala under the leadership of the National Planning Authority. The report is supported by the Economic Performance of African Cities, a World Bank-DFID partnership that is supporting four African cities including Kampala City to improve data collection, analysis and application of research on urbanisation.