National parks, cultural diversity, the green landscapes and of course more power in upcountry stations have worked together to see the growth of this industry and Uganda’s economy. And we have hardly scratched what we can earn from tourism. Vincent Mugaba Damming the Murchison Falls dam was never going to go away that easy since it first came into the public space mid-year 2019. Uganda’s need for more electricity to power our development and improve livelihoods is in no doubt. And nowhere is this truer than in the tourism sector.
Year on year the Uganda government has highlighted tourism as a major foreign exchange earner. National parks, cultural diversity, the green landscapes and of course more power in upcountry stations have worked together to see the growth of this industry and Uganda’s economy. And we have hardly scratched what we can earn from tourism.
National assets like the famous Murchison Falls (Kabelega Falls), mountain gorillas, conferences et al are one of the major reasons for growth in tourism receipts. Not only have these brought in more money in the national coffers, but have also empowered individuals and families through the provision of jobs and business.
And this is where I agree with the drive to grow our power production capacity. When we go to Uganda’s most popular park, we will need to stay in accommodations with power. The local economies that depend on tourism will also need power. However, should we increase power generation at the expense of what we have already achieved in tourism and other sectors?
Uganda’s current power crisis is not so much that we don’t have enough power. Actually we have more than we currently need.
The Umeme Annual Report 2018 published on 25th March 2019 states that Uganda’s total installed power capacity is 984MW. With the commissioning of Isimba and later Karuma dams, the total power generated is to rise to 1,782MW. This leaves us with a surplus of 1,182MW based on the current peak demand of about 600MW.
According to the New Vision article To Dam or Not Dam Murchison Falls , the National Planning Authority projects Uganda’s power needs to be at 40,000MW by 2040. That is just 20 years away.
Looking at it in context, such a level of power demand is just over a third of the current power capacity in Africa. Or put another way that is having twice the capacity of the Three Gorges […]