MBARARA. President Museveni has said for the country to shed off backwardness, a big section of Ugandans need to move to urban areas. Addressing more than 350 members of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda (UAAU) at Ntare School in Mbarara on Monday, Mr Museveni said many people live in rural areas wandering about without engaging in any gainful work. He added that developed countries such as the US and UK have very few people in agriculture and majority in the service sector.
“One of the characteristics of backwardness is to have more people in agriculture than in services, said Mr Museveni.
The President challenged leaders of urban areas to carryout urban planning so that towns are organised to accommodate the growing urban population that stands at about 20 per cent. “These town are not planned, they are just there, you need to plan them so that people live in organised places,” he said.
Mr Museveni, however, urged those aspiring to live in towns to first identify what they will do there for their survival. He also asked heads of urban areas to promote and support industrialisation in their areas for wealth creation. He further noted that establishment of factories will be facilitated by development of infrastructure.
According to the National Population and Housing Census 2014, the population of all urban centres is 7,425,864 people. There are 259 urban centres in Uganda. These include one capital city, 33 municipalities, 163 town councils and 62 town boards. The urban population has been increasing overtime from about 1.7 million in 1991 to nearly 7.4 million in 2014. This is partly due to an increase in the number of urban centres and expansion in the geographical area of already existing urban centres.