Archive for ‘Development’

February 17, 2010

THINK! Blog! Win

I received this short letter on a new blogging competition from the guys at THINK About It! Are you interested? Go on … Apply.

Dear Blogger,

Internationally renowned blogging competition seeks enthusiastic journalists, bloggers, students and experts!

TH!NK3: Developing World is the latest in the European Journalism Centre’s TH!NK ABOUT IT blogging series and will feature 100 participants from 27 EU member states, neighbourhood countries and beyond, as they track sustainable development efforts and global cooperation initiatives around the globe. The blogging competition will run from 24 March to 31 August and begins with a launch event in Brussels, 22-23 March. Participation in TH!NK3: Developing World includes travel opportunities to Asia, Africa and New York City, where TH!NKers will report on development issues from on the ground!

April 7, 2009

Of Gobbledygook and Numbers

To provide and facilitate the delivery of quality, sustainable and customer oriented services efficiently and effectively.

That, my friends, is the grand mission statement of Kampala City Council

 

The Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Program is the tool that Kampala City Council (KCC) intends to use as a basis for the modernization of the city.  The $100 million program is broke down into three phases, upon which the transformation of the city will be actualized.

 

Phase I – Improved institutional efficiency of KCC through the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Reform

Phase II – Extending coverage and quality of service delivery and deepening institutional reform

Phase III – Consolidate institutional development and enhance enabling environment for economic development

 

Gibberish, all of it!  I have no idea what KCC is talking about.  Do you?

August 28, 2008

Garbage Gold

Tired of this common sight?

 

 

Here’s a little good news …

 

Kampala City Council (KCC) has signed a deal for the conversion of municipal solid waste into low sulfur diesel and electric power.

 

The pre-agreement between KCC and Cobal-USA will see the building and operation of a waste-to-energy plant, whose plasma reactor and gas-to-liquid conversion system will convert 10,000 tons of municipal solid waste into 52,000 gallons of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel every day.  It will also generate 50 megawatts of clean electricity that will be added to the national grid.

 

More details here.

 

A few facts regarding municipal garbage in city from the Kampala Solid Waste Disposal Report:

 

  • Each household in Kampala generates approximately one ton of waste every year
  • Each Kampala resident contributes about one kilogram of domestic waste every day
  • Vegetable matter constitutes the largest amount of waste, followed by paper, street debris, plastic and glass
  • Nakawa Division generates the largest amount of garbage in Kampala
March 31, 2008

Impressed, But Not Impressed At All

President Festus Mogae ~ 

For resisting the temptation to rule for two more terms although the option existed; for stepping down from office 18 months before the end of your final term; for leading Botswana through a peaceful democratic transition, despite the problems that dogged your rule, you are my hero.

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The National Land Use Policy (inexplicably dated May 2007 althought it was only released last week) is possibly the most unimaginative government strategy I have ever read.  It was supposed to be groundbreaking considering it is the first of its kind since independence, but it is generic, simplistic and mind-numbingly boring.  While it is a solid strategy, it contains little more than the obvious – harmonize land laws, protect the environment, strengthen land planning, better management of public land, etc.

The National Land Use Policy is based on almost colonial attitudes towards development in Uganda.  It’s fixated on agriculture as the mainstay of the economy and even though it recognizes the strain on natural resources caused by Uganda’s wildly growing population, it doesn’t give any novel guidelines on how the country should plan for this.  “Promote and encourage the development of adequate and appropriate shelter for all,” it says. “Integrate the provision of basic infrastructure and services in human settlements.” 

Look, I’m no a development specialist or resource planning expert and if I listed the things of which I am ignorant, it would take a decade.  I am a self-confessed Philistine and my knowledge of the economic is pedestrian at best.  But still, I expected more from the much-anticipated National Land Use Policy. 

For instance, I hoped the policy would deal with the use of land around the numerous lakes and rivers which cover almost a third of the country.  With a considerable percentage of the population living around and dependent on these water bodies, I hoped that the policy would address land use in these areas and the increasing strain on the dilapidated systems.  However, this is what it proposed: 

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To protect and maintain all water sources and catchments in the country. 

That’s about it. 

The Land Use Policy doesn’t really appear to have any particular links with Uganda’s development strategy.  While I don’t want to discount the ‘hours of work’ put into it, it almost appears to be a duplicate of land use policies from around the world that are widely available through a simple search on the internet.  Cognizant of the fact that agriculture it is responsible for almost half the GDP and 88 percent of Ugandans are subsistence farmers, there is little to reflect Government’s push to increase industry and manufacturing, mining and tourism.   

I was under the assumption that the policy was intended to guide the operation of the development control systems and to facilitate the development decisions.  I thought it would help achieve the vision for the development of Uganda in the future. I wanted to hear more about proposed multiple uses of land, deliberate allocation of land for settlement needs, balancing regional land development and so on. 

Still, kudos to the Ministry of Lands for the new policy.  Now here’s to the hope that it will mean something for Uganda and won’t follow in the steps of the much ignored National ICT Policy, the National Policy for the Conservation and Management of Wetlands, the National Environmental Management Policy for Uganda and the National Water Policy.

November 16, 2007

Surviving the Stranglehold

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BBC African Perspective yesterday broadcast an interesting discussion that I would like to continue on this blog.  The crux of the discussion was the rising cost of living in Africa and the (in)ability of people to live comfortably within their means.   

Take Uganda as an example.  Fuel prices have nearly doubled in the past year and the cost of essentials like soap, salt, sugar, flour and oil is on the rise.  Electricity has increased, water has increased and bus, taxi and bodaboda fares have increased.  Inflation is also on the rise, the shilling is unstable and the economy isn’t growing as fast as it did a decade ago. 

On the other hand, new housing estates are mushrooming all over Greater Kampala, the road network is unable to support the hundreds of cars imported into the country every month. The Ugandan middle class is growing and more young professionals can afford to go abroad on holiday at least once a year. 

So … what do you think?   

How are you able to live on your salary every month? 

Do you supplement it by moonlighting, investing in the stock exchange or running a business?

Are you merely a product of your nations with large debt and insurmountable balance of payment problems? 

Are there ‘easy’ ways to survive this economic stranglehold?

Is the prosperity of your country merely superficial with an inevitable crash in the near future?

October 23, 2007

Humbly Supercilious

Apparently modesty wasn’t a requirement in judging the candidates for the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership.

Reuters TV reports: 

Mozambique’s former President Joaquim Chissano, who led his country to peace after a vicious war before willingly stepping down, said he was not surprised to win the first Mo Ibrahim Prize for African leadership. 

In a Reuters Television interview late on Monday in Kampala, Chissano, one of Africa’s most revered statesmen, also said that he was unsure whether the $5 million prize should be seen as an incentive for good conduct in power. 

“I am not surprised … I have received many other rewards for the same reasons. Even before I left power I had been praised on several occasions and I have the appreciation of my colleagues, other African leaders,” he said. 

The bearded Chissano, who was appointed last year as a U.N. special envoy for Uganda’s conflict, was speaking at a Kampala hotel after visiting delegates at Ugandan peace talks being mediated in Juba by South Sudanese officials. 

The Mo Ibrahim prize, the world’s biggest individual award, was presented by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a ceremony in London on Monday.

October 18, 2007

No Answers on Poverty

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So, did anyone go for the public forum on Wednesday? 

Anyone apart from a couple of MPs, NGO types and Gerald Tenywa who reported about the excitement of the parliamentarians “when they watched an Oscar award-winning film on climate change acted by the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former US vice-president, Al Gore”? 

Did they get answers as to why, despite the fact that I have been working for the past nine years, I am still as poor as the day I was born?  I have no property to speak of, I am constantly broke and if I died, only the bats in my ceiling would contest my will. 

Did they find a solution to the increasing number of children dropping out of school before Primary Seven because they are forced by their parents to join the family trade?  Did they discuss the fine balance between child labor and child exploitation and the declining household wealth? 

I wonder if my uncle from Kanungu was a case study at the public forum?  Did they talk about how his 10 acres of land are somehow not enough to feed him and his family of five?  How his formal education is of no greater use to him that shouting English expletives when he gets drunk? 

A group of men who participated in a workshop by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative last weekend asked for a law to declare women part of their personal property.  They reasoned that since they spend millions on bride price, they deserve to have their wives listed as an item of their wealth.  Maybe this was on the agenda at the public forum … but maybe not. 

Did they (re)define poverty?  Did they speak of poverty of the mind? 

Or did they merely use the event as a networking opportunity and an excuse to miss work for the day, rushing to the organizer’s table at the end of the forum for the Ushs. 50,000 delegates’ allowance? 

Did anyone go for the public forum on Wednesday?

September 26, 2007

Wasting Time Effectively

Was absolutely uninspired to work today.  Things turned around when I invested about an hour of company time watching an early copy of this.

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B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T

Definitely worth spending $25 on it when the DVD is released in October.

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September 25, 2007

Finding Meaning in Mediocrity

So, Mo Ibrahim. 

Remember him? 

He’s the Sudanese mdosi who is offering five million American moolahs to “a former head of state or government from sub-Saharan Africa who has left office in the last three years and has demonstrated exemplary leadership.”  The lucky bastard will also get $200,000 every year from Mo, just for good measure. 

Don’t panic, my post isn’t about Mo or his bizarre prize.  Some guy (who I seem to be quoting with more frequency than I should) blogged about Mo last year and I have no business challenging the musings of a ‘political refugee.’ 

This post is about Uganda’s fairly bleak performance Mo’s Index of African Governance that measures performance on Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency, and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development.  

The index, released yesterday, placed Uganda in 25th position in a list of 48 African countries.  The government’s scores in four of the five sectors hover at about 50 percent, only breaking through to 71 percent in providing safety and security for the population.  A little ironic considering the Ugandan army is abusing human rights in the Karamoja region, cattle rustling in the northeast continues and the Lord’s Resistance Army has just recently agreed to a ceasefire. 

Uganda’s performance seems quite good until you consider the positions of other countries in the East African Community. Tanzania was in 14th place, Kenya came next at number 15 and Rwanda followed three places down at number 18.  The region was only let down by Burundi, which trailed in the 40th position.  But we all know about Burundi, so we forgive her, no? 

I had a long altercation with my workmates over Uganda’s performance on the Mo Index of African Governance.  The loud arguments ranged from the method of ranking and level research undertaken to claims of neo-colonialism and marginalization.  The fight only ended when someone asked if our salaries had arrived in the bank, making us turn our wrath from each other and on our long-suffering accountant. 

I’m all talked out, so let me just say this.

Uganda’s average position is just another confirmation for me of its average citizenship, its average government and its average development.  Many Ugandans are not ones to ruffle feathers unnecessarily or to work harder than their peers.  Ambition is largely frowned up and excellence often goes unrewarded. 

Been to a public office at ten minutes to five in the evening?  Don’t expect to get special treatment … if you are lucky to find anyone in the office that is.  Ask your Member of Parliament to account for the Constituency Development Fund?  Expect to be satisfied by an evasive answer and the lack of receipts.  Want a salary raise or a job promotion?  Fly under the radar and don’t go gabbing on about your ‘dreams.’  Caned by Mondo Mugisha and his gang of goons during a public demonstration? Nurse your wounds in the quiet of your home, silencing any calls for retribution. 

Cram and don’t bother to study if you want to pass your exams.  Encourage the growth of the economy by buying stolen spare parts.  Tolerate substandard work.  Learn to live with mediocrity.  If you’re not dead, you are okay.

What is most depressing for me, is that Uganda won’t even have the opportunity to shine when Mo hands out his Prize for Achievement in African Leadership next month.  You see, President Yoweri Museveni only manages to rise above mundane when it comes to holding onto his chair. And we Ugandans shrug our shoulders, accept our fate and continue our humdrum existence. 

September 20, 2007

African ‘Reality’ Reviewed

A review on Millionaires Mission, the preposterous new reality TV show on poverty in Uganda that I blogged about yesterday, is available from The Times. 

The Daily Telegraph says of some of the issues raised by the program –

“In the end, all these arguments – however interesting – weren’t enough to banish the sense of tackiness.  Instead they remained curiously abstract.  Because of the reality format, we’re getting to know the entrepreneurs a bit.  The Ugandans, though, are little more than a combination of backdrop and plot device.”

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