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Participation of stakeholders key in Kampala physical development plan

A potholed Sir Apollo road in Kampala. Photo: Courtesy

A potholed Sir Apollo road in Kampala. Photo: Courtesy

It is easy for one to sense the urbanization–expansion of densely populated areas in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) when driving between Kampala City and surrounding districts such as Wakiso and Mukono.

The expansion of urbanized areas over time can be easily captured by the satellite image (such as Landsat data). Between 2000 and 2014, urbanisation occurred rapidly and the areas within a radius of 10km to 12 km around Kampala city centre were mostly already urbanised by 2014.

This resulted in a total population of more than 4.3 million dwellers in the GKMA. The result of this has been the agglomeration effect where we see denser economic activities. Without referring to other countries, we already see in Uganda that the cities attract people that create the market to be the destination of the commodities and services.

The industry growth most importantly creates jobs. This is the classic process of transforming the society and economy all globally. It is also said that such agglomeration also has a significant impact on innovation, by the interaction amongst talented youth who gather in the cities and stimulate each other to create new ideas and businesses to solve social issues.

Clearly, urbanisation is an important economic facet especially after Covid-19, for Uganda to strongly and sustainably recover and grow with such innovation and industrial agglomeration. Much as this agglomeration effect is an advantage, it should be noted that it comes with environmental side effects, some of which are already being felt in Kampala such as flooding, air and water pollution, among others.

Besides the environmental effects, urbanization is also a source of other urban issues that we are facing today. According to the 2014 census, the urban population more drastically increased in Wakiso and Mukono (by approximately 5%) whereas Kampala capital city experienced slower growth (approximately 2%) when it comes to GKMA.

This resulted in unplanned development and poor living conditions due to the lack of social and economic infrastructure in those surrounding districts.


In order to manage the future growth of large metropolitan areas like GKMA, it is essential that relevant organisations work together to formulate urban development master plans and work on urbanization and urban development management.

For GKMA for instance, a plan for the well-connected and seamless transportation system should be established through the coordination and cooperation amongst all the local governments and relevant Agencies.

Without such unified direction and coordinated plans, the different transportation modes such as roads and railways will not be inter-connected, thus less effective and impactful than they should be.


There is need to upgrade the Physical Development Plan (PDP) to reflect the reality and through coordinating relevant stakeholders which should make the plan more implementable. Almost all existing PDPs currently are still strategic in nature and not concrete in Uganda.

It is essential to formulate more concrete and more specific PDPs for guiding the formulation of lower- level PDPs. By doing so, the hierarchical system of PDPs would be effective in making impacts on the ground.

I also call for the activation of the Ministry of Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs (MKCC & MA) which has mandate to coordinate physical development plans in the GKMA. The amendment of the Kampala Capital City Act in 2020 officially added to MKCC&MA a new role of the coordination of physical development plans (PDPs) of KCCA and local governments in GKMA.

This enhanced mandate of MKCC&MA in coordination in physical development plans (PDPs) within GKMA would open a possibility to the establishment of a coordination and collaboration mechanism.

There is also need for an appropriate platform and process for dialogue amongst stakeholders. Since the beginning of the JICA technical corporation project for Integrated Urban Development Plan for GKMA (GKMA-UDMP), the local governments composing the GKMA and their political leaders have all been involved in the process of master planning.

The project will also establish a collaboration and coordination mechanism or platform for implementing the PDPs to be formulated in this project.

The author is representative, JICA Uganda office


0 #1 Richard M. ARIONG 2023-02-01 10:09
I pray the issue of physical planning is taken serious.

When I think of Kampala in 2050 and beyond, I shudder at the thought of how it will look like if the current trends and practices continue. It is a real mess.
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