Uganda’s transport sector and climate change


Uganda is a land locked country, served by rail, air, road and inland water transport. The majority of people travel by foot and road public transport.  All sectors depend on the transport sector directly or indirectly. Since independence the transport sectors have been attracting one of the largest share of the budget, in financial year 2012/2013 the transport sector was allocated UGX 1.651 Billion. In financial 2015/2016 the works and transport sector received UGX 3.3 Trillion and coming financial year 2016/2017 it is poised to receive UGX 3.8 Trillion, while sectors of water and environment UGX 519 Billion and agriculture UGX 633 Billion. Which are attached to nature and are key sectors in the economic development of Uganda.  

Uganda’s road network supports the movement of around 95% of its goods and people. The Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) stresses the need to have a good and maintained road transport infrastructure in order to boost household incomes, crop production and accessibility to markets. The 10-year Road Sector Development Program (RSDP) that started from 2001 was estimated to cost $2.28 billion. There are consequences in implementing PEAP through RSDP which include vegetation clearances where grass and trees are cleared during widening & re - aligning of road sections, construction of camp site, opening up of borrow areas, construction of access routes. Old vehicles and equipment are used which use leaded fuel and they are not serviced regularly this has increased equipment and vehicular emissions. Road construction in areas which are rich in mineral resources lead to an exploitation rush, which has negative human and environmental impacts.

Emissions from vehicles are the major source of pollution in Uganda. Where 100% and 80% of petrol and diesel are used respectively, petroleum products are responsible for about 75% greenhouse emissions.  This has led to a compound temperature increase across the country. There has been an increase in occurrence of erratic rainfall, floods, storms and droughts, due to such events a negative effect on economic development has been felt in the country.

According to reports by the Uganda Energy Sector (2007) and United Nations World Water Development (2006) they estimated UGX 120 Billion annually to be lost due to water related climate change disasters, while transport related incidents were estimated at UGX 50 Billion annually. In 2007 the northern and eastern parts of Uganda were hit by floods, the hardest hit district was that of Amuria, where roads, bridges, crops, lives and buildings were destroyed.

By Kateregga Dennis, BA(ECON), Dip.IEL, Consultant

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