Gulu Should Embark On Attracting High Quality Investments

Morris Komakech

In the last decade, Gulu has experienced peace from twenty years of senseless genocide. This peace has proffered for youths to gather the debris of life to build a society of hopeful individuals. Many have ventured into social or grassroot journalism and local transportation. Using social media, youths have brought Gulu to the world, and using bodaboda, youths shave moved the city forward. Nonetheless, these elemental endevour are insufficient!

Gulu aspires to city status.  It must think of being a modern metropolitan city.  Its major challenges are expanding and modernizing city facilities – sewers and drainage systems, markets, transportation, commercial spaces and housing development, social services, etc .

All these are potential areas for investments. Gulu must now strive to construct and maintain state of the art infrastructure that will attempt to erase memories of conflict of the past, and bridge the post conflict society with a hopeful prosperous future.

In its ambitious growth from a small metropolitan into a humongous city, Gulu will have to open its doors for fast diversification. It must build a robust economy. Many people from every lifestyle will seek opportunities in the new city. Gulu residents must brace for these changes, challenges and displacements associated with increasing urban pace costs.

In addition, Gulu should develop a robust corporate agenda if one is not yet in the offing. Modern cities pride themselves with cleanliness, neatness, amusement parks, tourist parks, craft villages, nice hotels – green spaces, safe and lighted streets; modern transportation systems, etc.

A deliberate corporate plan could allow Gulu City to avert a replication of the chaos that mars Kampala streets and streets of Africa’s major cities like Nairobi.  Gulu owes its citizens 100 years of apriori planning to keep away land grabbers, and slum-minded migrants.

A modern attractive Gulu is achievable through pragmatic ordinances, by-laws, incorruptible policies, and meticulous futuristic planning – not the reactionary planning where tragedy happens first and a quick lazy solutions are mooted for political expedience.

Gulu authority should design a competitive corporate agenda. Such an agenda, should prioritize a special provision to attract many Acholi in the Diaspora to return and invest at home. The high handedness of Kampala based bureaucrats, the rampant and vicious bribe culture in these cities and lack of security for both person and their property keeps away local investors. Gulu should capitalize on the flaws and political wrangles that characterize these other cities to emerge as number one investor friendly destination. The City must generate its funds to develop its infrastructure. Investments are a sure sources of revenue as compared to capitation and other loans that come with stringent conditions.

The investment agenda of Gulu could tap and exploit the power of social media. The Alcohol Ordinance, for instance, gained enormous public attention, locally and internationally through social media. Any robust and pragmatic policies, including special privileges for certain category of investors should quickly find its way onto our cell phones and tablets.

Lastly, and most importantly, Gulu youths should open up dialogue with the City authorities to collaborate on branding and promoting Gulu as a destination for tourism and investors.

The numerous wartime memoirs are a starting point. World over, post conflict societies have maintained war museums, memorabilia and so forth that attracts tourists. Multitude of researchers seems attracted to the area to study post conflict experiences and adaptations. These are all great opportunities to build hotels, recreation facilities, entertain hubs, and various joints. In that virgin market, competition is still low. The urge for a variety of high quality services are expanding. Young people should stop complaining about foreigners coming to invest in Gulu. Instead, youths should use their local experiences to compete with foreigners, to welcome foreigners. The foreigners fuse in new ideas and lift the quality of service delivery. Gulu should do everything within its means to attract high caliber investors.