Transforming secondary cities for job creation: A case study of Mbale, Uganda

Policy brief Cities

  • The Government of Uganda is taking steps to strengthen secondary city economies, as demonstrated by plans to declare nine new cities, including the municipality of Mbale.
  • Primary constraints to growth and job creation include limited access to finance, underdeveloped transport, insufficient access to land, low labour force skills, and little scope for the private sector and civil society to participate in policymaking.
  • Mbale government and private sector stakeholders can leverage the district’s agricultural and scenic resources through initiatives such as marketing Mbale as an agro-tourism destination, and promote higher-value-added and less land-intensive agriculture, such as poultry farming. With more funding, the newly established Commercial Office can also be leveraged to enhance enterprise support.
  • Achieving the objective of productive job creation requires a collaborative, regional approach to economic development. Officials in Mbale could, for example, establish multi-stakeholder regional development agencies to support growth in particular sectors.