If all goes according to plan, Uganda will be a first world country in 2040. By that time, less than 5% of Ugandans would wallow in abject poverty, a reduction from 24.5% today. Kampala would be free from potholes, 200-seater double-decker buses and electric trains will move people from place to place.
There will be over 10 international airports spread across the country, reducing 10 hours of bus rides from Kampala to Kanungu to only 30 minutes by plane.
The vision seeks to create five regional cities and five strategic cities; ten international airports; a standard gauge
railway network with high speed trains; oil refinery and associated pipeline infrastructure; multi-lane paved national road network linking major towns, cities and other strategic locations, among others.
Launched in April 2013 by President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, the vision defined a blue-print to guide the transition from the doldrums of a third-world country into the first-world, joining the league of the world's developed countries.
Indeed, in his speech, Museveni acknowledged how tough, but achievable the vision is, stating: "We need $200b to implement this plan. With our oil, this will not be a problem. Even without oil, but with discipline, we would have raised the money to implement this plan (by 2040)."
One sector central to the attainment of the Uganda Vision 2040, according to development experts, is infrastructure in general and roads specifically. "Infrastructure, particularly in energy and roads and transport, is the best investment for development because they drive industrialisation," says Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba, a development consultant.
"Mauritius has done it and changed a lot. We still have challenges in energy production and our roads connecting consumption and production centres are still bad. We need a national airline managed under a public-private partnership like Kenya Airlines (KQ) to bolster roads transport but how will we manage an airline professionally when we failed to manage boda bodas?"
Infrastructure drives economic growth and development, considering that low production and transport costs attract private sector investments, says Eng. John Byabagambi, the works state minister.
"You need modern infrastructure connecting the whole country, especially tourism, agriculture and movement of goods," he says. "Infrastructure is the biggest investment a country can have. That is why China is catching-up with US."
In agriculture, as in other sectors, good roads reduce transportation costs of inputs like fertilisers as well as ease marketing of produce.
"A tonne of fertilisers costs $145 to transport from Mombasa to Kampala," says Kisamba. "This would cost $80 using railway transport, so all transport means are critical."
Having prioritised the roads and transport sector over the last four financial years, the Government has increased its investments, jumping from about sh500b a decade ago to sh1.7 trillion in the 2012/ 13 FY and sh2.3 trillion in 2013/ 14 FY.
The Government now funds 60% of the roads development budget. Donors fund the remaining 40%. These investments have improved the condition of roads, especially trunk and feeder roads, making them al-weather.
A result of this investment has been the reconstruction of 1,000kms of national roads and tarmacking of 500kms of new roads over the past five years under the Uganda National Roads Authority's (UNRA) tenure.
Today, Uganda boasts of 4, 000kms of tarmac road network out of the total 21, 000km of national roads. "UNRA's projects are in-line with the Uganda Vision 2040," says Dan Alinange, the UNRA publicist.
"We would want all national roads in Uganda to be tarmacked, but our resource envelop is limited."
Uganda needs a multi-model transport system to increase mobility by reviving a national airline as well as invest in water transport to offer an alternative to the widely used roads transport.
About Vision 2040...
"Some people call it a book, others think it is a document," says Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, the National Planning Authority (NPA) chief.
"But the Uganda Vision 2040 is a reflection of Uganda's aspirations and what they wish their country to be by the year 2040."
Designed and developed by NPA, the Vision, a modification of the Vision 2025 as well as a review of visions of Kenya, Rwanda, Malaysia, Botswana, Qatar and, India, aims at transforming Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low income country to a competitive upper middle income country with per capita income of about $9,500 up from $506 Over the 27-year vision period, average real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate will be over 8.2% per annum, translating into total GDP of about $580.5b with a projected population of 61.3 million in 2040.