Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Why Infrastructure Matters?

Why Infrastructure Matters?Uganda is a landlocked country which is geographically positioned as the natural regional hub with access to nearly all the east African countries on its boarders. To address the high cost of doing business in a landlocked country, the government needs to invest deeply in transport, energy and skills development.   Undoubtedly, adequate infrastructure is key for economic growth and competitiveness in Uganda. The country’s present insufficient infrastructure is obstructing faster growth.

Empirical evidence between the 1900s and early 2000s shows that infrastructure developments in Uganda contributed over 1.5 percentage points to Uganda’s per capita growth rate.   Given the state of public sector resources around the world, governments seek to enhance resources by enticing private sector contribution and Uganda is no exception. Such participation may be slightly unstructured but there is a changing trend with the establishment of formal systems. With a stable government and a continued economic growth, the Government of Uganda is reaching out for public-private partnerships to develop its infrastructure.  

The Infrastructure needs The infrastructure needs for each of these sectors include roads, railways and air transport. In agriculture, investment in roads will upsurge productivity, open up new areas for production and recover export competitiveness. In the tourism sector, investment in roads will expand access to national parks from Kampala and Entebbe; link the parks with each other and provide access within each individual park. Uganda is presently investing in huge infrastructure projects in order to further enable industrial and economic expansion.   To improve access as well as transport for its people and economic products, Uganda needs to recuperate its railway network. The Kampala to Malaba railway line needs upgrading to standard gauge. The Tororo to Packwach needs a minimum upgrade costing US$116 million to re-open the line.

The Kasese to Packwach railway is a new proposal to build a line that provides access to oilproducing areas along the spine of the Albertine Graben. Work on the Kampala to Kasese line has stalled but Government is keen to continue with the reconstruction of this significant artery to Kilembe Mines and to western Uganda. The Gulu to Nimule line is another important northern artery of the railway.   The Uganda/Tanzania Railway Project is the latest bid by Uganda to find an alternative heavy haulage route to the Indian Ocean. Starting from Tanga in Tanzania, the line is proposed to run through Arusha to Musoma and across Lake Victoria to Bukasa Port in Uganda. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Governments of Tanzania and Uganda. Uganda is presently recognizing land requirements for Bukasa Port.

Airport investment projects include further development and expansion of Entebbe Airport: presenting the construction of a new domestic terminal; a new cargo centre; an aircraft maintenance centre; and a multi-storey park.   In Northern Uganda, Gulu airport needs refurbishment as does Kasese airport in Western Uganda. Pakuba, at the northern tip of the Albertine Graben, is the “Oil Airport” and in need of investment to make it fit for purpose. Uganda has recently been listed as one of the freest economies in sub-Saharan Africa based on factors such as the ease of doing business, openness to trade, political stability, property rights and fiscal and monetary policy (with a free movement of capital regime). Read More....

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