Value of PIDG investment
Number of people benefitting
Bugala Island, situated on Lake Victoria in Uganda’s Kalangala District, has undergone a transformation over the past decade. Bugala Island was previously one of Uganda’s poorest districts, and residents lacked safe regular access to the mainland, reliable electricity and clean water. This had constrained the growth of agriculture and fishing activities on the island and prevented the realisation of its tourism potential. In 2005, InfraCo Africa began to address these constraints and established an infrastructure company, Kalangala Infrastructure Services (KIS). Today, the island is thriving and Kalangala is among Uganda’s wealthiest regions. KIS has played a major role in this transformation.
KIS is a pioneering mixed utility company that has responded to the complexity of Bugala Island’s needs. KIS has delivered and now operates two modern roll-on roll-off ferries; has upgraded the island’s 66km Luuku – Mulabana main road; is distributing clean water to 19 villages on the island; and has developed 1.6MW of hybrid solar-diesel power and recently taken over operation of the Kalangala Town Council (KTC) grid. In 2005, the residents of Bugala Island approached InfraCo Africa to ask for help in refurbishing and developing their infrastructure. The complexity inherent to multi-sector small-scale island infrastructure had deterred the private sector and required significant expertise to balance commercial viability and affordability. InfraCo Africa, through its principal developer eleQtra, led the design and development of the Kalangala project. Working with the Ugandan government InfraCo Africa negotiated a tolling scheme for the ferries and addressed the legal and regulatory challenges associated with establishing the first private mixed utility in Uganda. InfraCo Africa provided the funding needed to accelerate the launch of the first ferry and so build confidence and engagement in the project. InfraCo Africa also designed an innovative project financing package which blended various financing instruments and mobilised support from its sister PIDG companies. Negotiations with the Ugandan government are also ongoing, with the intention that KIS will refurbish and operate the Kalangala Town Council grid and further upgrade the main road. InfraCo Africa have maintained their interest in KIS and remain committed to its future development.
Today, all four components of the project are fully operational and KIS has defined an ambitious vision for the future. Solar power could be scaled-up by 300% and distribution and electrification expanded. The government-subsidised ferry service allows residents to transport their crops and fish to the mainland for sale. The daily trips to the mainland also allow residents to work further afield, receive medical treatment and supplies, resupply fresh food, and import building materials. Villages where KIS water supply is provided have seen a drop in waterborne diseases. There is also a visible increase in the settlement of families in permanent homes, in contrast to the temporary structures that were prevalent before the project started.
I was privileged to be selected by KIS as one of the ferry trainees, and later appointed as an employee. After getting a job with KIS, my social, health and economic conditions improved. . . I can now pay for my children’s school fees, feed them well and also take care of their health.