Unlocking new cities for growth
The Uganda Vision 2040 and third National Development Plan for Uganda have recognized the importance of urbanisation as a force for socio-economic transformation across the country, and in particular the need for regional and strategic cities beyond the capital to drive the urbanisation agenda. As part of this, the Government of Uganda has created fifteen cities in the country, in addition to the capital city of Kampala. Effective 1st July 2020, ten cities became operational. These are: Arua, Mbarara, Gulu, Jinja, Fort Portal, Mbale, Masaka, Lira, Soroti and Hoima. These cites operate under the Local Government Act and under the guidance of the National Urban Policy.
However, creating these cities was just the first step – making them engines for growth and “hubs of happiness” requires forward planning and proactive policies to enable job creation and rising living standards. In light of this, on the 3rd March 2021, the Ministry of Local Government and the International Growth Center held a policy workshop to discuss best practice in the establishment of new cities and key policy actions for unlocking the potential for new cities to drive economic growth and development in Uganda. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss immediate and medium-term priorities for new cities in Uganda in order to develop an action plan for future reform.