It is important to understand the problem but even more important to devise a solution. WARP is focused on implementation. 13 cities have to built in 24 years. That’s an average of a complete city every two years. In practice, building from scratch and fully populating a city of three million in two years is a monumental challenge. To achieve the target several, if not all, of the cities have to be started at once.

Several factors have to be considered.


For a City a Year, Uganda needs at least $20 billion a year in investment. Conventional approaches will not work.

Sovereign guarantees are already tapped out. The country cannot collect $20 billion in tax revenue from $30 billion in GDP. Creative financing approaches have to be taken.

We know that over $70 trillion globally is sitting on the sidelines looking for positive returns. Africa has unlimited opportunities to offer positive returns. Why then aren’t the trillions in global money flowing into Africa? Africa’s investment opportunities have not been structured to the tastes of foreign investors.  

WARP is focused on organizing Africa’s urbanization opportunities to make them attractive to large institutional investors around the world.

This photo, “construction site for more classes” is copyright (c) 2013 and made available under CC By ND 2.0


Housing and urban development capacity only exists where homes, towns and cities are being built. China has a lot of this capacity because it has been building entire cities from scratch over the past decade. Europe and North America have some capacity but they do not build nearly as many homes as China. Canada builds no more than 250,000 new homes each year. Africa has very little capacity but needs millions of homes a year. WARP has to think about structuring partnerships that build the cities quickly while maximizing local input and respecting local conditions. This is easier said than done. Foreign professionals and contractors, especially those that do not speak English, may prefer to come in and work on their own unimpeded. Doing so would violate an essential component of the 13 city initiative — the creation and development of local capacity.

The 13 city initiative has to create millions of local jobs, thousands of businesses, and unlimited opportunity for Ugandans while also serving the countries that invest in building the cities. It is a delicate balance.


At the outset, WARP will be leading development work. In time, as developers increase their capacity to deliver communities and cities, WARP will partner with them to provide the stock of housing.


WARP wants to create local capacity. Granted, we have to bring in experienced contractors, most likely from developed countries that already have a strong track record in large scale urban development. However, we have to ensure that local construction capacity is built and expanded so that we can create local businesses and jobs. We anticipate having thousands of contractors in Uganda within a decade, all capable of acting as lead or sub contractors.


This is an area where WARP feels African countries can benefit most. For the 13 cities in Uganda, hundreds of billions of dollars in building supplies will be needed. A deliberate program to support local business will quickly create wealth for Ugandans.


Every African country has its own version of land management challenges. There isn’t a universal fix to all land management challenges. WARP expects to address Uganda’s land management issues as we work to develop the 13 cities. Land development capacity has to be improved to ensure that there is enough land in the country for the 13 cities as well as for the rural aspects that support life in the cities.


This is an area that will initially be dominated by foreign entities but should eventually be an area of strength for local companies.


“Soft” skills are going to be critical in the 13 cities program. Building the average of a city every two years, filling it with 3 million people and ensuring it is a vibrant, attractive and livable city requires a phenomenal amount of “soft” skills. Doing it for 13 cities, in a single country, over a 24 year period is unprecedented in human history. WARP is going to engage many social sector partners in our work. There is a large role for the social and not-for-profit sector in Uganda’s urbanization program.