Urban population to hit 21 million by 2040 - UBOS

Some housing in Namuwongo, Kampala. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Uganda’s urban population is projected to reach 21 million by 2040 compared to 7.4 million people in 2016.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics midyear projections in 2021, urban population was 11.4 million people.

While urbanisation is prerequisite for the country’s target of achieving upper middle income status by 2040 under the national goals, it comes with challenges as highlighted in the Finance ministry’s budget estimates for the financial year 2021/2022.

“Urban areas have been characterised by informal settings leading to proliferation of slum settlement, coupled with high urban unemployment,” the report reads in part.

The growing urban population is also blamed for the high rate of crime, which is strongly linked to high poverty levels in urban settlements.

Urban crime—manifested in not just a subculture of poverty but also violence—has recently soared in Uganda’s capital of Kampala thanks to various gangs. This comes at a time when a recent report by the National Population Council showed that Uganda’s population is rapidly growing. The report envisaged that by 2050 the population will have hit 103 million people.

What is required

Releasing the report on the Finance ministry’s budget estimates for the financial year 2021/2022, Mr Matia Kasaija—the line minister—said the challenges highlighted require significant investment in sustainable urban infrastructure and legal and regulatory reforms to manage rapid urban growth and sprawls.

“Government has launched a sustainable urbanisation and housing programme intended to reduce unemployment, reduce housing deficit, and enhance economic infrastructure in urban areas,” he said.

Mr Kasaija also said the government plans to increase efficiency in solid waste collection and provide coverage of urban green spaces.

Operationalisation of the current 10 cities, he added, is a recognition of a need to decongest the greater metropolitan Kampala area.

According to the World Population Review, Kampala—the commercial and capital city of Uganda—has a daytime population of 3.6 million people and is expected to reach seven million by 2035 and night population of 1.2 million people.