Magazine article New African

Transformation of Uganda's Road Network

Magazine article New African

Transformation of Uganda's Road Network

Article excerpt

UGANDA'S 21,000KM ROAD NETWORK IS THE key facilitator for the development of agriculture, commerce and trade--as well as the movement of people for business, social needs, leisure and the delivery of healthcare, education and extension services. The government recognises that an efficient road network is crucial to the success of its social and economic development initiatives, and critical in linking the centre to the periphery of the nation.

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The last 50 years have been very challenging for the roads sector and transport in general. After Independence, the government invested in all-weather roads and by 1971, Uganda had more than 1,500km of paved roads.

Unfortunately, the roads built in the 1960s started to disintegrate in the 1980s at the expiry of their 15-year life, necessitating reconstruction. By 1986, when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came to power, the country's road infrastructure was in a dire state of disrepair due to the years of civil strife and economic mismanagement. The government's first priority was to restore peace and security as a fundamental precondition for development. As security was gradually restored, the government began the implementation of its policy to develop an independent, integrated and self-sustaining economy with the road network playing a pivotal role.

Since 1996, the government of Uganda's policy has been focused on improved transport and communication infrastructure for the accelerated development and consolidation of national unity, implemented through its road development programme.

In that regard, the 10-year Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP) focussed on providing a safe and efficient road network by removing the existing major transport flow constraints. Under the RSDP programme, paved national roads increased to 3,000km in 2008.

In July 2008, the government decided to increase funding to the road sector by UGX32obn (US$125.5m) annually for three years with a special focus on constructing transport corridors. This additional funding increased the overall budget for roads to UGXI. …

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