Green Industrialization: A Socioeconomic Imperative for Uganda’s Sustainable Growth

As Uganda embarks on accelerating its economic development, the Government is taking conscious steps to ensure that growth is socially inclusive and that the protection of the environment is upheld. The Uganda Vision 2040 states that “Ugandans desire a green economy and clean environment where the ecosystem is sustainably managed, and the liveability of the urban systems greatly improved”. It also states that “Ugandans aspire to have access to clean, affordable and reliable energy sources to facilitate industrialization”.

To achieve this, the Government, through the implementation of  The Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy, aims at reducing the environmental impact of industrial processes for sustainable growth.  Green industry, in addition to pollution control, involves a symbiotic relationship between industrial complexes and existing urban/rural communities with natural environment bearing capacity.

Green industries also demand collaboration in resource use from shared infrastructure.  This includes waste management, energy, transport, communication networks, and value chains in the production of raw materials in surrounding areas and their use in the industrial zones. In addition to these, there is a need for a close relationship between local communities and governments, industrialists and central government. This is to ensure that the government’s targets are met through directives geared to substituting fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. These also include improving occupational health and safety, reducing pollutant discharges, and waste disposal towards compliance with environmental norms. Therefore, phasing out the use of toxic substances, introducing new, cleaner technologies, and using resources more efficiently.

GGGI is accelerating the transition towards a new model of economic growth – green growth founded on principles of social inclusivity and environmental sustainability. For environmentalists and development experts, green is not just a color. It also refers to activities that benefit the environment.

Through its Greening Uganda’s Urbanization and Industrialization Project, GGGI Uganda has embarked on supporting four secondary cities in achieving Green Industrialization through guiding the cities’ pathways to realizing Green Industrial Parks. The cities include Soroti, Gulu, Packwach, and a Free Economic Zone at Entebbe. This should be viewed as the new pathway to Uganda’s industrialization as we strive to increase profits while saving resources.

A case in point of how green industrialization has contributed to economic growth in Kenya is of the Kiamokama Tea Factory.

Therefore, an important factor needs to be considered by policy makers in pursuing the path towards green industrialization. The government needs to recognize that greening industry requires more than just a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also involves natural capital protection, whose role involves the provision of raw materials and protecting of the living standard of future generations.

“Overall, a general belief among the development experts is that going green and clean is no longer a moral question it is now a socio-economic imperative.” (Kingsley Ighobor, African Renewal)