SEATTLE — Located in east-central Africa, the country of Uganda has had significant political stability since 1986. Prior to this, the country was ruled by a violent dictatorial regime in which nearly 300,000 people died. Despite the horrific events that occurred, the country remained strong and experienced some of the largest economic growth on the continent of Africa. In 2010, this growth began to slow and has remained stagnant since then, deeply impacting infrastructure in Uganda. During the last five years, the Ugandan government has worked to improve the overall infrastructure throughout the country, but they still are in need of more assistance.
Under the 2016/2017 national budget, the government allocated over UGX 1 billion to improve transportation infrastructure nationwide. With this money, the government intends to accelerate and complete various ongoing road projects and work to maintain road networks and bridges across the country. Historically, Uganda has had issues with oversight of projects and experienced corruption and inefficiency. However, in the last year the Uganda National Roads Authority (the government entity in charge of the construction and maintenance of roads) underwent a complete overhaul of its management in an effort to fight corruption, waste and inefficiency in the construction of roads.
Between 2016 and 2021, the government also intends to improve air transportation at Entebbe International Airport. The plans include strengthening and improving runways, replacing and upgrading necessary navigational aids and building a new passenger terminal. In addition to these improvements, the government has plans to construct various regional aerodromes that will be used to aid the development of an oil refinery.
The infrastructure in Uganda is also in serious need of energy improvements. With a population of close to 40 million, only about 20 percent of Ugandans have access to electricity. Over the next decade, the government has allocated UGX 850 billion for various energy improvement projects. One major project, called the Bujagali Hydropower Project, is a proposed plan to construct a hydropower facility. The project will provide substantial benefits for the overall infrastructure in Uganda, by increasing electricity supply, lowering electricity costs and creating jobs for Ugandan workers. In doing so, thousands of Ugandans can have access to electricity and their livelihoods can be substantially improved.
The Ugandan government recently launched an Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Sector Export and Marketing Plan in order to improve economic development and create jobs. The ICT contributed to 2.5 percent of Uganda’s GDP and employed over a million Ugandans in 2015. It also saw a significant increase in the number of individuals who had access to the internet, from about 8.5 million to 13 million. In addition to this, the government is also working to extend digital broadcasting to all parts of the country, including rural areas.
The government is doing a phenomenal job improving the infrastructure in Uganda. However, the country is seeking partnerships and investments from other countries including China, the United States and European countries to help fund some of these projects, as Uganda does not have the capacity to do so. In the past three decades, Uganda has grown and succeeded in countless ways, and many other countries and organizations can help them improve their infrastructure.
– Sarah Jane Fraser