Number of pages
Publication date

UN-Habitat Country Programme Document 2016 - 2021 - Uganda

The UN-Habitat Country Programme Document for Uganda outlines the main objectives and priorities for UN-Habitat in Uganda. In collaboration with the government and other United Nations agencies, the overall aim of this HCPD is to promote the New Habitat Agenda: ensuring the sustainability of urban growth as a driving force as well as a source of equitable development with the power to change and improve lives. UN-Habitat plays an active role in urban development and urban policy. Through partnerships with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), UN-Habitat has assisted in identifying key urban issues and areas needing support to improve urban development in Uganda.

The HCPD has addressed these areas of intervention to guide the government of Uganda in meeting its sustainable urban development challenges. The multilateral programming instruments presented in the HCPD that help to guide national priorities and UN system priorities are the National Development Plan II (NDP-II), Vision 2040, and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The focus areas of UN-Habitat and the government of Uganda, highlighted in the HCPD, are governance and accountability, social development, physical planning, human capital development, environment and natural resource management, service delivery/productivity and livelihoods, and security and conflict.

Number of pages
Publication date

Land Tenure Security in Selected Countries

Secure land and property rights for all are essential to reducing poverty because they underpin economic development and social inclusion. Secure land tenure and property rights enable people in urban and rural areas to invest in improved homes and livelihoods. Although many countries have completely restructured their legal and regulatory framework related to land and they have tried to harmonize modern statutory law with customary ones, millions of people around the world still have insecure land tenure and property rights.

This report addresses and assesses the issue of tenure security  in several countries where government, civil society, the private sector and development cooperation initiatives have been implemented for decades. The selected case studies from fifteen (15) countries (Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala) ensure not only ageographic balance but they also represent countries with different socio-economic and land-related histories and that have followed different pathways. The studies’ key findings underline the still precariousstate of tenure security in many countries.


UN-Habitat Country Programme D
Number of pages
Publication date

UN-Habitat Country Programme Document 2008-2009 - Uganda

Urbanisation in Uganda is relatively young compared to Kenya and Tanzania. The roots of urbanisation in Uganda are traced back to the 1890s when a European presence was established in the country – a period that defined Uganda’s spatial and urban development pattern.

With the building of the Kenya - Uganda Railway, economic and administrative centres was established. Nothing much has changed since this pattern was established after independence.


Number of pages
Publication date

Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks , Appropriate earth technologies in Uganda

Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB) technology has been gaining recognition, particularly in East Africa. This material and method of construction has the advantages of low cost and minimal environmental impact, while providing comparable quality to conventional fired brick construction. With a growing number of organisations using the technology there is a need to improve communication and knowledge-sharing, to quantify and verify the benefits, and to develop efficient approaches for its promotion and adoption.

The purpose of this publication is to promote the use of ISSB by sharing some case studies of successful adoption and adaptation to local contexts. It also highlights some of the challenges faced in developing and promoting the technology with some key lessons learned from projects in northern Uganda. This document provides stakeholders interested in the sustainable development of human settlements with a reference tool for an innovative construction method in practice.

Number of pages
Publication date

Uganda: Mbale Urban Profile

Mbale is a Municipality in Mbale District in the eastern part of Uganda. It began as a commercial centre for Arab slave traders and later attracted Indian traders who had come to East Africa to build the railway line. Eventually, Mbale became the Uganda Government’s administrative centre for the Eastern Uganda region.

The major challenges facing Mbale town are growth of  informal human settlements, poor land records, lack of serviced land, poor land tenure systems, outdated structure plans, political interference in decision making, outdated laws, high urban population, and inadequate human resources.

Mbale Town is located on the foot of Wanale ridge of Mt. Elgon which is 8,000 feet above sea level. It covers a geographical area of 2,435 hectares. Mbale’s central location makes it attractive, competitive and a business hub in the region. Further its location and multiple entry points and its close proximity to Kenya makes it accessible to all regions and provides opportunities for enhanced trade activities that attract local investment necessary for economic development. Mbale town is experiencing typical problems associated with urban areas such as high population growth and unemployment, lack of basic urban services and inadequate waste management.

Number of pages
Publication date

Uganda: Mbarara Municipality Urban Profile

The Municipality of Mbarara is believed to have picked its name from a tall grass locally known as Emburara (Hyperemia ruffa) that covered the whole area. Its real commercial growth begun with the appearance of the Asian trader and by 1950, there were about 15 commercial premises operating in the town. More commercial enterprises were set up in 1950 and 1960. In 1957, it was declared a township authority under the British Administration at Kamukuzi, and elevated to Municipality Status in 1974.

The current economy of Mbarara Municipality is predominantly based on the social services sector, the informal sector activities, trade, and industry. Mbarara is the biggest town in the western part of Uganda and the second transit town between Rwanda and Uganda. Majority of people derive their livelihood from employment income (54.3 percent), business industry (26 percent), farming (7.1 percent), property (1.6 percent) and other incomes (10.9 percent), (Mbarara Municipality Three Year Rolling Development Plan, 2019/10-2011/12).

Number of pages
Publication date

Uganda: National Urban Profile

Uganda is a landlocked country, lying astride the equator in East Central Africa occupying 241,551 square kilometres, 18 percent of which is composed of inland waters and permanent wetlands. It is closely linked by economic and colonial history to Kenya in the east and Tanzania in the south. To the North and West lie the Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) respectively and further Southwest lies Rwanda.

The constitution of the republic of Uganda provides the overall legal basis for government to plan and implement government programmes for the country. The challenge of uplifting the livelihoods and quality of life of the people draws its impetus from international development commitments to which Uganda is party, and clearly pronounced in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) whose targets are interfaced with Uganda’s shared vision, sector priorities and plans.

Number of pages
Publication date

Uganda: Kitgum Urban Profile

Kitgum Town is located in Chua County and is bordered by Labongo Layamo to the west and north and Labongo Amida to the east and south. The town is steadily recovering from a long civil war and its growth is mainly as a result of its close proximity to Sudan which has enabled a lot of cross border business. The neighbouring districts of Pader, Lira and Gulu also contribute to Kitgum’s steady growth. Kitgum houses the district headquarters and is the major commercial hub of Kitgum district. The topography of the town is best described by its gentle slopping plains and hills.

Kitgum lies at an altitude of 937 meters above sea level (at the bank of Pager River). The main problems affecting the town include overpopulation, unemployment, lack of basic urban services, poor waste management, and urban poverty. Another major problem affecting Kitgum town is haphazard development due to lack of a physical development plan. Nevertheless, Kitgum Town Council’s mission is to provide and facilitate quality service delivery and economic empowerment of the urban poor, and to ensure orderly infrastructure development of the town.

UN Habitat is providing technical support to the Government of Uganda in Planned urbanization and human settlement development; Youth and vulnerable groups’ access to social-economic opportunities; Physical Infrastructure, Basic services and Urban Economy; Housing and Slum Upgrading; Management of Land and Urban Environment; Governance and Capacity Building and the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area Development.


Urban numbers


7,993,711 (17.5 %) of the total population in Uganda is urban, growing at a very high rate of 5.2%. The challenges related to these rapid urbanization include uncoordinated planning and development leading to uncontrolled sprawling of the major towns; youth bulge in urban areas; growth of slums and informal settlements, dilapidated housing, and poor sanitation; privatization of urban development without providing public space and connectivity; weaknesses in administration, institutions, legal normative framework and overall planning; and weak coverage of basic infrastructure services, notably
water, energy, and sanitation, which makes it difficult to improve welfare in either urban or rural environments

Donors and partners

The success of our work in Kenya is dependent on successful partnerships. Overall, the Uganda Habitat Country Programme Document (HCPD 2016-2021) has been developed and is being implemented through a collaboration involving the national and municipalities, The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), World Bank and academia.


Thomas Chiramba
Senior Human Settlements Officer
Regional Office for Africa
  • Total value of UN-Habitat investments (2008-2015): US$ 31,322,045
  • Total number of UN-Habitat projects (2008-2015): 8 projects
  • Main donors: Netherlands, USAID, UNDP Uganda, UNEP/GEF Secretariat – Kenya, UNFPA, UNEP/GEF Secretariat – Kenya, African Development Bank, European Commission and, the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat
  • Implementing partners: FAO, ILO, UNFPA, UNIFEM, UNDP, UNEP/GEF, UNEP/DTIE, ITDP, TRL, UITP, GTZ, World Bank, AFD, UNFPA


General information


Capital: Kampala

Major cities: Kampala, Gulu, Lira, Mbarara, Jinja, Bwizibwera, Entebbe

  • Population: 36.35 Million
  • GDP: US$19.88 Billion
  • GDP growth: 3.4%
  • Urban population (annual %): 16%
  • Population growth rate (average annual %): 3.4%
  • Urban population growth rate (average annual %): 6.0%
  • Rural population growth rate (average annual %): 2.9%

Source: World Bank 2012



UN-Habitat projects in Uganda


Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative PHASE II - Training and Capacity Building Component

Objective of the project

  1. To provide efficient and timely implementation of programme activities
  2. To enhance community participation in ownership of programme activities, thereby empowering them for sustainability of the programme facilities and outcome/benefits
  3. To ensure the financial and operational sustainability of the programme investments
  4. To ensure that the poverty reduction and public health benefits of the programme are fully realized


The project is developed around the following methodologies:  

  1. Programme management to ensure local stakeholder participation, timely and efficient delivery of programme outputs and an effective monitoring, quality assurance and evaluation system.
  2. Institutional capacity of service providers to ensure the efficient delivery of water, sanitation and refuse collection and disposal services and the long term sustainability of programme investments.
  3. Hygiene promotion and sanitation to maximize the public health benefits of the programme, strengthen local structures to manage public sanitation programmes and promote options for financing mechanisms for accessing to household sanitation.
  4. Urban catchment management to reduce environmental degradation and contribute to the long term sustainability of water resources.
  5. Monitoring and evaluation system to ensure gender mainstreaming in water and sanitation programmes and provision of services to the poor.

Service sectors covered by the project include:Water, Sanitation, Solid Waste management, and Environment.

  • Duration:April 2011 to December 2016
  • Value: USD 4,244,443
  • Donor:African Development Bank
  • Implementing Partners:UN-Habitat, East Africa Community through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Governments of Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda through respective ministries.


Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities (GEF-SUSTRAN)

Objective of the project: The project “Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities” aims to reduce growth in private motorized vehicles, thus reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the three capital cities of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya.

The overall goal of this project is to create the technical and institutional basis for implementing sustainable metropolitan transport networks and systems and establish a demonstration corridor for sustainable urban mobility. The project is expected to support the governments in providing safe, efficient, and equitable transport to all residents, rich and poor.

Service sectors covered by the project include:Transport,Planning ,Energy, and Legislation.

The methodology: The envisaged strategic response is to upgrade the public transport systems, implement improved non-motorized transport infrastructure (such as bicycle lanes and walkways) and apply travel demand management (e.g. parking reform) as well as spatial development strategies to reduce travel.

Starting with small steps in each city seems to be the most feasible approach. It is therefore the aim of this project to also support each government in establishing a first sustainable transport corridor, which can serve as a demonstration example and act as a catalyst towards expanding the proposed networks and measures throughout each city.

  • Duration:October 2010 to December 2016
  • Value: USD 7,335,000
    • Global Environment Facility (GEF) - USD 3,000,000;
    • Co-financing (UN-Habitat, UNEP, ITDP, World Bank Kampala - USD 3,485,000;
    • In kind (UN-Habitat, UNEP, ITDP, GTZ, TRL) - USD 850,000
  • Donor:Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • Implementing Partners:UN-Habitat, UNEP, Governments of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, through respective ministries. Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP), Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), German Organisation for International Cooperation (GIZ), First African Bicycle Information Organisation (FABIO), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) 


Promoting Energy Efficiency in Building in Eastern Africa

Objective of the project

The project seeks to mainstream energy efficiency into the existing legislation; and, to build on ongoing initiatives and develop an energy efficiency regulatory system for new and existing buildings. The project will also focus on green architecture, with the emphasis on effective policies, regulations and standards that integrate energy efficiency into building design.

Service sectors covered by the project include: energy access, buildings, academia, policy and legislation, housing finance.

The methodology: The project is developed around the following methodologies: Establishment of a benchmarking on energy use in building, capacity building of practitioners and professionals of the building industry; review of the building regulations and standards; development of tools and establishment of financial mechanism for promotion sustainable building design. Working with the national and local governments as well as training institutions and the private sector.

  • Duration:August 2011 to December 2016
  • Value: USD 15,276,288(Global Environment Facilities (GEF) USD 2,793,000; UN-Habitat (in kind) USD 400,000; Governments (in kind) USD 12,083,288)
  • Donor: Global Environment Facilities, and UN-Habitat,
  • Implementing Partners:UN-Habitat, UNEP and Governments of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda through respective ministries.



Water and Sanitation Programme - Lake Victoria Region WS Initiative    

The UN-HABITAT Water and Sanitation Trust Fund aims to create an enabling environment for pro-poor investment in water and sanitation in urban areas of all sizes in the developing world, thus providing a vehicle to significantly improve the volume and effectiveness of both the Official Development Assistance and national financial flows into the water and sanitation sector.     

  • Duration: December 2005 - December 2012    
  • Value: US$ 20,719,970    
  • Donor: Netherlands   
  • Location: Regional project for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

 Coordination and Support to IDP Camp Management in Northern Uganda    

  • Duration: August 2006 - December 2008    
  • Value: US$ 200,000    
  • Donor: USAID        
  • Implementing partners: FAO, ILO, UNFPA and UNDP    
  • Location: Acholiland, Teso, Lango sub-regions

 UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality in Uganda    

To facilitate sustainable return and resettlement through reliable provision of basic services such as safety and security and civilian access to justice in areas of return and resettlement    

  • Duration: July 2010 - December 2012    
  • Value: US$ 74,900    
  • Donor: UNDP Uganda   
  • Implementing partners: UNIFEM, UNDP    
  • Location: Lira & Kitgum municipalities

 Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities    

To create the technical and institutional basis for implementing metropolitan sustainable transport networks and systems and establish a demonstration corridor for sustainable mobility.    

  • Duration: January 2011 - December 2015    
  • Value: US$ 2,850,000    
  • Donor: UNEP/GEF Secretariat - Kenya   
  • Implementing partners: UNEP/GEF, UNEP/DTIE, ITDP, TRL, UITP, GTZ, WORLD BANK, AFD    
  • Location: Kampala 

 Empowerment of Vulnerable Urban Youth for Socio-Economic Inclusion     

The development goal of the project is to enhance the capacity of the Government of Uganda; the municipality council of Arua to empower vulnerable urban youth for socio-economic inclusion and development.To establish a One Stop Youth Centre (OSYC) in Arua Municipality that will enhance the capacity of youth and youth organizations to acquire and promote entrepreneurship skills for income generation. To strengthen the capacity of the Arua municipality to undertake youth development activities.    

  • Duration: March 2011 - December 2012  
  • Value: US$ 284,730    
  • Donor: UNFPA   
  • Implementing partners: UNFPA    
  • Location: Arua

 Promoting Energy Efficiency in Buildings in East Africa (PrEEBEA)    

To mainstream energy efficiency measures into housing policies, building codes, municipal by-laws and building practices in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) in order to achieve considerable avoidance of HG emissions as a result of improved buildings and building practices; leading to more efficient use of electricity and thus to expand the electricity supply to satisfy the increasing demand by both residential and economic productive activities of the partner countries.    

  • Duration: August 2011 - December 2015    
  • Value: US$ 2,793,000    
  • Donor: UNEP/GEF Secretariat - Kenya   
  • Implementing partners: UNEP and GEF    
  • Location: Regional Project in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda

 Water and Sanitation Trust Fund

Implementation of Training and Capacity Building Activities Under the Lake Victoria Water Supply and Sanitation Programme Phase II        

  • Duration: December 2011 - December 2016    
  • Value: US$ 4,244,445    
  • Donor: African Development Bank   
  • Location: Regional project for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda  (Lake Victoria Region)


Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme

The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme is being implemented in Uganda in partnership with the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD) with a view of mobilising various stakeholders into review, adopt and develop enabling policy and institutional capacity to facilitate adoption of slum upgrading and prevention strategies to contribute to improving of living conditions of slum dwellers in Namibian towns and cities. The implementation of Phase 2 in Namibia will strengthen community, city and national key stakeholders' capacities in participatory slum upgrading in Namibia, particularly in the selected cities/towns of Mbale, Kitgum and Mbarara thus adding value to the development of policy, institutional, legislative, and financial frameworks.

  • Implementation Phase: Phase II
  • Duration: 2008 – December 2015
  • Value: US$155,000
  • Donor: European Commission and, the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat
  • Implementing Partners: UN-Habitat and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development 
  • Profile cities/ location: Mbale, Mbarara and Kitgum




Property Tax Regimes in East Africa

image019The report covers three basic issues: property tax legislation and practice, the significance and magnitude of property tax revenue, and the prospects of property taxation in the three East African countries. For instance, during the period of analysis, property taxes contributed quite a small percentage (on average 0.054%) of annual national revenue in Kenya and between 23-27%of annual municipal council revenue.