The contribution of the “Future Cities Africa” program to Jinja in Uganda

The website Citiscope wrote an article about Jinja, a secondary city in Uganda, who poised to grow rapidly in the coming decades. The author, Amy Fallon inform that, Jinja have just one urban planner, Mrs Tabitha Kakuze.  Like, the rest of people of this locality, she is impatient to see the central government officially designates Jinja a ‘city’. Many advantages will come with this new status. For his specific case, she will be more productive, because now “she has more work than she can handle”, explain the article.

Normally, Jinja will be design as a “city” at the end of this year. Currently, Jinja is classified as a “municipality.”

To help local authorities to be ready to face the influx create by the fast-growing urban areas, a number of efforts are underway in Uganda.  One of them is called Future Cities Africa. This program is working with local governments, civil society, slum dwellers and others in ‘secondary’ cities to assess the long-term growth coming to their communities.

A goal is to increase the planning horizon to 30 years from the current standard of five or ten. Cities hope they can boost staffing so they have more planners, engineers and other administrative capacity to handle growth.

The program is available in four countries: Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique. In Uganda, the focus is on 14 secondary cities, including Jinja, that are seeing the most rapid population growth.

This status of “City” will give different advantages:

-Qualify Jinja for more national funding to help pay for  roads, garbage collection, schools and health centers.

-Signal to businesses that Jinja is a place to invest

 “Human resources will have to be revised”, declare Kakuze, the only urban planner of the town. For her, “cities get more central government grants than municipalities” and they enjoy “better and more facilities than a municipality”

However Kakuze warns that as Jinja grows, land values will only increase, and slum dwellers will “most likely be displaced.”

As Kakuze sees it, Jinja’s growth will only benefit all of its residents — including the poor — with good planning.  And you can’t have good planning, she says, without more planners.

At the moment, the central government is working to provide Jinja with cadastral and topographic maps.

The complete article is available here.