Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Friday launched a pilot project on the use of Road Rapid a road technology that improves on the quality of roads and keep them intact during and after rainy seasons.
Road Rapid technology is an innovation by a Netherlands based firm OSO Enschede.
The pilot project was launched in Lake Mburo National Park.
The function was presided over by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Tranquilities Prof. Ephraim Kamutu at Lake Mburo National Park.
Prof. Kamuntu noted that UWA has been spending a lot of money on road maintenance in national parks and expressed hope that with the adoption of Road Rapid technology, the cost on roads will go down.
“Our team on the ground have always done their best to ensure that roads inside our parks are kept in good condition. However, this good job is always done at a high cost and there is a need to minimize these costs and put some of the resources to other conservation activities”.
Minister Kamuntu said while government prioritizes tourism as one of the sectors that will usher Uganda into a middle income country, there is a need to improve visitor experience.
“Government has identified tourism as one of the key sectors that will transform Uganda into a middle income country. We must therefore work towards enhancing the experience of visitors who come inside our national parks by among others ensuring that they move on good roads”.
He said that one of the factors that have kept developing countries behind is failure to apply science to development. He hailed Road Rapid technology as a modern scientific innovation that will open hitherto unreachable areas to the rest of the world by easing access to such areas in a cost effective way. He was happy to note that UWA is moving with the times and adopting modern technology to solve the problem of infrastructure in the parks.
The Executive Director UWA Sam Mwandha said that UWA has over 1500 kilometers of roads that have to be maintained and assured the Minister that after piloting the new technology, it will be rolled out to other parks.
Mr. Mwandha said that UWA has been keeping roads in the parks in a fairly good condition because of the need to ensure visitors move on good roads
“Visitor experience in the parks is priority in our tourism drive, we have kept the roads in a fairly good condition. Therefore if this technology works for us, we shall roll it out to other parks as well.
Mr. Stephen Kasule a Senior Advisor at the Dutch Embassy in Uganda said that the Dutch government is responding to the major blockages in the tourism industry in Uganda by facilitating a partnership between UWA and OSO Enschede to improve on the road infrastructure in UWA estates by using cost effective technology..
He said that the Dutch Embassy will continue establishing partnerships between entities in Uganda and private companies in the Netherlands because all the developments in the Netherlands are spearheaded by the private sector.
The Managing Director OSO Enschede Dan Koopmans said that his company came up with a cost effective solution for murram roads after years of experience and research in various road technologies. He said that a murram road made with Road Rapid has a lifespan of a minimum of five years before any maintenance work is done on it.