Last week I woke up to screaming news “The World Bank has cautioned that Kampala could become a mega slum in the next 10 years if no action is taken to improve the quality of infrastructure and commercial investment”.
The World Bank was being very diplomatic in their warning. They meant to say Kampala will become a mega slum in the next 10 years. With a population of 10 million people in the next 10 years, indeed Kampala cannot avoid being a mega slum.
In the economic history of humanity, urbanization has always been an accelerator of growth and development. The proximity of all the factors of production that occurs in the urban settings boosts efficiency because there are lower transaction costs; bigger, closer markets; and a natural tendency to form high-value areas of specialization. Indeed, it seems that no economy in the world to date has become prosperous without becoming urban.
In my view, there are three areas that we need to address to ensure prosperous urbanization. First is the issue of adequate rules and regulations. Second is having a carefully thought-out long-term urban design. And third is putting into place a financial plan that ensures adequate funding.
Kampala as our Capital City can ensure there are rules and regulations in place, which can be enforced; a financial plan can be put in place to ensure adequate funding of the city activities. However, it’s almost becoming impossible to have an Urban design for Kampala, which can handle its future population.
There are a number of issues, which make Kampala an Impossible Future City of Uganda;
1. The Land Tenure system;
More than 70% of Kampala land is mailo or privately owned. This makes Infrastructure decision-making on the side of government very difficult and very expensive.
2. The Infrastructure Master Plan of Kampala was not meant for a large City.
It’s important to address urban design early on because if you don’t, it is very difficult to do so once the city is established. Social and political issues emerge and it becomes a very complex and expensive process. For Example, if we are to have six-lane roads in Kampala now, just imagine the number of buildings that have to be compensated!!!
Nakasongola has several advantages as a future Capital City of Uganda;
1. Nakasongola is in the middle of Uganda. Did you know that Nakasongola touches all the four regions of Uganda? Nakasongola borders the West, North, East and Central
2. Nakasongola is still a plain land, which can be planned from the start with minimum compensation. This will offer a very good Infrastructure development from the start
3. A free trade zone can be put in Nakasongola to attract the industrial sector so that good business sense is made out of the city.
4. The Infrastructure Development can be private sector-led.
We came up with a proposal, which we intend to forward to government for a 45 km by 20 km City in Nakasongola along the shores of Lake Kyoga. With a 7 km bridge/road across the lake to access the Eastern Route and a 10 lane highway and High-Speed Rail to access Kampala. The Proposal has put in place a Civic City, Business City, Industrial City, ICT City, Diplomatic City, Residential City, Tourist City with hotels and resorts along the 45km shores of the Lake etc.