State Minister of Finance in charge of Planning, David Bahati, has this Wednesday presented to Parliament a government proposal to borrow $235m from the Africa Development Bank (ADB) for the construction of three major roads in Uganda.
The roads are Namagumba-Budadiri-Nalugagu road (26 kilometres); Katuna-Muko-Kamuganguzi road (104kms); and Laropi-Moyo-Afjoyi (Sudan border) road (37kms).
Bahati also requested approval of $68m from the same bank to fund Kabale-Lake Bunyonyi road Kisoro-Mgahinga road.
The Minister said the proposed road investments are expected to boost tourism in the region through an improved road network which is key to spur wider socioeconomic growth and development.
Speaking to ChimpReports in Kabale recently, Minister Bahati said improve road infrastructure will as well help in the transportation of iron ore products.
“Kigezi has several tourist attractions that benefit the country, but this will be improved because transport will be quicker than before,” said Bahati.
“Secondly, people will use the roads to ferry their agricultural produce to different markets and lastly when the iron ore factory is set up in Rubanda district, transportation of iron ore produces will be made easier,” he added.
Despite the country’s increased debt burden, ADB said these benefits will be quantified in terms of savings in vehicle operating costs, reduced travel time costs and reduced accident costs and included in economic analysis of the project roads.
As the structure of transport costs and demand is altered in the economy of Kabale and Kisoro, the improved road will have “multiplier” ripple effects throughout the economy such as positive changes in agricultural output and fishing industry.
The touristic road projects are located in the South west of Uganda known worldwide for its proximity to Uganda’s Unique Mountain Gorillas species in the Bwindi Impenetrable attraction areas.
The main tourism products include: gorilla tracking, bird watching, eco-tourism, water sport, mountain climbing, gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, nature guided walks, community walks, visual arts and white water rafting.
Uganda has 50% of world’s mountain gorillas and 7% of mammal species.
This presents the country with numerous tourism opportunities to stimulate economic growth and earning significant revenues from strengthening primary, secondary and tertiary tourism industries.
The tourism industry is expected to play a major role in the economy and a major contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2040 by providing enormous employment opportunities directly and in related service industries and earn USD 12bn by 2040.