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Infrastructure and logistics take shape

Article - November 13, 2014

Across the country highways are being built and rural roads asphalted, as well as city streets being improved, with private companies such as BCR General, Bolloré Africa Logistics and Mota-Engil working to enhance the nation’s transport arteries


Uganda has embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its road transport infrastructure with the government keen to see new projects spur the nation’s economic growth that is set to increase to almost 7 per cent this year.

Construction companies and logistics operators, both multinationals and local outfits, are playing their part and one such enterprise is BCR General (U) Limited, whose Managing Director Baguma C. Rusoke says it is all good.  “Roads form the backbone of the economy and without them it is almost impossible to have economic growth (and) our knowledge of the industry landscape is key to making BCR a good local partner,” he says. “We take the smaller, more local jobs because of funding reasons and that way we do not compromise on quality.” He adds that BCR has worked on road projects ranging in length from 102km (63 miles) to 2km.  

Primarily a construction firm, BCR also works in transport and logistics, area surveys and mapping, and warehousing and storage. “And now we are in a partnership to produce eco-friendly tiles,” Mr Rusoke adds.

New to Uganda, but with more than six decades working in Africa, is the Portuguese multinational, Mota-Engil Africa, which with just over one year in the country is already signing government contracts.

“Mota-Engil was awarded the contract to modernise and upgrade the existing Kampala Northern Bypass, which will transform it from a two-lane to a four-lane highway and upgrade five existing roundabouts to modern flyovers with traffic lights,” explains General Manager Francisco Franca.

Uganda, he continues, is a stable country and good for investors. The development of the oil and gas industries means a lot of supporting infrastructure has to be built.

“Mota-Engil is in Uganda for the long term because we came here to contribute our experience and ambition to develop this economy as we have in the rest of Africa for the past 64 years,” Mr Franca says.

Logistics networks are also vital for the smooth flow of transported goods and one of the world’s largest companies active in that sector, Bolloré of France, is the leading operator in Uganda.

“The logistics environment in Uganda remains strategic, although we have some challenges, like the fact we are a landlocked country, and the need for more roads. I know the government is busy working on that,” says Bolloré Africa Logistics’ Regional Managing Director Patrick Katayi.

Customs clearance for export and import, bonded warehousing, freight consolidation, air-sea transit and packaging are just a few of the services on offer from Bolloré, which has offices in Kampala and Entebbe.

“Regarding foreign investors, I can see that the government is very positive and welcomes companies coming to Uganda which are offered a bright future,” Mr Katayi says.