GGGI Uganda hosted a working session with political and technical city representatives from Arua, Gulu, Mbarara and Jinja to prioritize the infrastructure and investment proposals of these secondary cities. Attendees were joined by representatives from the National Planning Authority (NPA), Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the Private Sector Development Unit (PSD) and the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The projects under review were identified from the new Physical Development Plans (PDPs). The draft PDPs for Arua and Gulu were prepared by the two city councils, with external consultancy support and active engagement by GGGI. Those for Mbarara and Jinja were already in place.
The developments in these PDPs were informed by a situation analysis, completed in early 2021 in four of the new secondary cities of Mbarara, Arua, Jinja and Gulu. The specific GGGI analysis of November 2020 revealed that all cities had significant infrastructure gaps in the eight urban score card indicators namely: access to clean water; functional sewage and garbage disposal system; electricity access; weather-proof and secure home; transport; security; telephone access and internet connectivity. The survey further uncovered the fact that the spatially influencing trunk or arterial infrastructure funding was mainly by central government transfers with minimal local revenue and private sector contributions.
During the Investment and Infrastructure planning workshop, in her opening remarks, Ms. Dagmar Zwebe GGGI Uganda’s Country Representative highlighted the need for demand-driven investments that catalyze private sector involvement in the implementation. She also emphasized the need for cities to prioritize green investment areas that will have minimal Green House Gas emissions, in 20-30 years to come.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the total global infrastructure investment requirements by 2030 for transport, electricity generation, transmission and distribution, water and telecommunications will come to USD 71 trillion. This figure represents about 3.5 percent of the annual World GDP from 2007 to 2030. There is widespread recognition that governments cannot afford to bridge these growing infrastructure gaps through tax revenues and aid alone. This is where the private sector arises, to blend its finance with other sources in the provision of holistic infrastructure investments.
From an economic growth perspective, it is echoed that infrastructure is not only an enabling factor for facilitating competition across all sectors of national and regional economies but can also be an attractive investment opportunity. It is against this background that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development – PPP unit took the team through the viable infrastructure and investment modules that the cities can integrate into their plans to attract financing.
Mr. Vamsi Duraibabu, the Regional Investment Lead for Africa emphasized the need to prioritize projects with a high greening potential to create climate resilient cities. These will go a long way to ensure Uganda achieves growth in a green sustainable manner.
The Mayor of Arua city, Mr. Sam Wadri Nyakua, while closing the workshop, thanked GGGI and NPA for such an inclusive approach towards seeing the cities grow He urged fellow mayors to take advantage of opportunities coming with the new Physical Development Plans. He stressed that the newly expanded areas offer investment opportunities to the private sector.
This workshop demonstrated the alignment of the Investment Infrastructure Plans to the new PDPs as well as the proposed projects and how they close the infrastructure gaps in the PDPs. The prioritized projects included low-cost housing, transport infrastructure, markets, sustainable landscape management, conservation parks, solar lighting, abattoirs, and agro-industrialization infrastructure.