The plan is that by 2040 Uganda will be an upper middle income nation with a per capita income of $9500, a ninteenfold jump from the current $500.
This is contained in the final draft of the National Vision 2040, that the National Planning Authority (NPA) has been working on since 2010.
Assuming that population growth continues at its current rate of just over 3% economic growth will have to average about 15% a year for the next 27 years to meet this ambitious target.
NPA envisages that broken down, this would mean dramatic improvements in poverty levels, a reorientation of the economy towards industry and services and away from agriculture, greater proportion of manufactured exports and a near threefold jump in national savings as a proportion of GDP.
NPA chairman Professor Kisamba Mugerwa thinks it’s doable.
Mugerwa told New Vision editors in a recent visit that opportunities in oil &gas, tourism, mineral development, industrialization and agriculture can be leveraged to deliver the result.
What needs to be done is to strengthen the physical infrastructure, human resource, science and technology and consolidate the current peace and security.
In support of all this there also has to be movement in social development and governance issues.
Of course Uganda Vision 2040 is a road map, the devil is truly in the detail, in the execution of the plan.
“There has to be a society wide mindset change not only at the central government but at every level of leadership,” Mugerwa said.
He explained that the national budget, which is government’s primary tool of execution of development, will derive its strategic direction from the Uganda Vision 2040.
Mugerwa said that there have been only three five-year development plans, with the last being the 1971 plan that was jettisoned by the Amin coup of that year. Since then the government has been undergoing restructuring, rehabilitation and poverty alleviation driven by the donor agenda.
To get anything done your human resource, operational and strategic processes have to be in place.
They say if you don’t know where you are going most likely you will get there.
Vision 2040 provides much needed direction to the country for the next few years and also proposes a framework for bridging our operational and human resource gaps.
We whine about the conditions we live in, complain about the slow pace of progress and grumble that we deserve better, but as some South African investor who plans to commit a few tens of million dollars to this economy said, we are so in the thick of things we cannot see the forest from the trees.
He had been away from Uganda for a decade and was amazed at the pace of development.
And all has happened and continues to happen without an articulated vision that a critical mass of Ugandans have bought into.
Vision 2040 may be linchpin the economy has been waiting for to push the agenda forward.
Progress would mean a greater formalization of the economies and we who are used to the informality of our lives – despite our protests, maybe the very ones who work against the whole vision.
The enterprise called corruption for instance will have to be broken down to allow for forward movement. But one can bet that its proponents will not seat around to be picked off like ducks in a row, they will fight and subvert the process at every turn. The success or failure of this anti-corruption fight will depend on how captive our systems and government are to the champions of corruption.
There is something that happens when a plan is put in place. Attention is generated, resources are focused and yes, miracles happen.
Vision 2040 should be given a chance, because I don’t know about you but for some us this is the only country we have and we daren’t give up on it.