[3 September 2018] -- From 5-9 September, the city of Jinja will host the Uganda Urban Expo 2018. The event, the first of its kind, will spotlight the investment potential of secondary cities and their role in shaping an effective, responsible business environment that enables firms to grow.
The theme of the expo, “Becoming investment ready: Unveiling the business and investment potential of secondary cities,” is a critical one for secondary cities around the world.
Often touted as engines of economic growth, secondary cities are teeming with business and investment opportunities that are under-exploited. If supported, secondary cities can play a vital role in creating employment, raising standards of living, taming open urban migration, and creating balanced and equitable development. An empowered and efficient system of secondary cities can double or even triple a country’s GDP, according to Managing Systems of Secondary Cities by Prof. Brian Roberts.
Many of today’s secondary cities, however, are struggling. While they are growing physically, there is no matching growth in productivity or living standards. They face inadequate funding, ever-increasing burdens on their infrastructure and services, as well as mounting environmental challenges – making it difficult to create a business-friendly, enabling environment for private sector investment.
With the Urban Expo, Uganda’s secondary cities are seeking to influence policy makers, development partners and other stakeholders to support secondary cities with commensurate financial resources, devolved fiscal empowerment, infrastructure development, and relevant capacity building to help them become investment ready.
About the Expo
The Uganda Urban Expo is being held at the Civil Service College Jinja, with field activities spread throughout the Greater Jinja area.
The Expo will bring together existing and potential urban development partners, the private sector, academia, government institutions, civil society and the urban community to debate and exchange knowledge, experiences and tools for enhancing the role of secondary cities for promoting economic development.
The Expo comprises three parts:
-- A symposium to provide practical guidance to cities on how to become Investment ready and how to unlock the various potentials for investment and business promotion;
-- An exhibition where participating cities, counties, municipalities, organisations and companies can exhibit a wide range of innovative urban solutions and products; and
-- Field visits for participants to see local projects and tourism sites aligned with the expo’s theme.
The Uganda Urban Expo is organised by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Jinja Municipal Council in collaboration with the Urban Authorities Association (UAAU), Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
Cities Alliance at the Expo
Cities Alliance is supporting the Expo and participating in the learning events. We are hosting two sessions: the first on SDGs and New Urban Agenda as enablers of business and investment in secondary cities; and a second one with UNCDF on reaching out to capital and debt markets.
Support for the Expo is an extension of Cities Alliance’s long-term partnership with Uganda to strengthen the urban agenda in the country, through our Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda Country Programme, the Future Cities Africa project, and the Equitable Economic Growth Campaign Cities initiative.
The city of Jinja is hosting the first ever Uganda Urban Expo. Photo: Cities Alliance
Cities Alliance is hosting two learning events at the symposium part of the Expo.