The government of Uganda has created seven cities across the East African country in a move to decongest the capital Kampala, the only city created at Independence in 1962.
David Bahati, minister of State for Finance, while speaking to the press said that the creation is in line with the country’s urbanization policy “to end the congestion, sanitation issues and confusion in Kampala.”
The government elevated to cities the municipalities of Arua in the West Nile region near the DR Congo and South Sudan borders, Gulu in the Central North, Mbale and Jinja in the east, Mbarara in the Midwest, Fort Portal in the west and Masaka in central region.
“The Uganda Vision 2040, the overarching 30-year national vision, identified creation of regional and strategic cities as one of the key drivers for the development agenda of the country’s long term aspirations and projections for the future,” said Raphael Magyezi, the Minister for Local Government.
He spoke on Tuesday in Kampala as he announced guidelines for the operationalization of the cities.
Bahati also noted that funding for the cities had already been secured but will be disbursed in a phased manner.
“The starting point is to fund the physical planning so that the cities start on a solid background,” Bahati said.
The creation is also expected to increase local revenue and government fiscal transfers, as well as increase employment, said the minister.
The creation brings the total number of cities in the country to eight.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni congratulated the people from the new cities while acknowledging the growth of the towns in a step to bring services closer to the people.
“Uganda now has eight cities and more will follow. My guidance is that the political and technical leaders must work in harmony to ensure the cities are run efficiently. I also urge the wanainchi (citizens) to be involved in the running of these cities, especially through oversight,” Museveni tweeted.