The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 39

The Development of Towns in Uganda 1970-1980

11 June 1985

Author: Edward A. Mugabi

Publication Date: 1985

Can political change affect the rates of growth of different towns in a country? This is what this paper is about. Between 1970 and 1980 there was widespread growth of small urban centres in Uganda. In contrast to the widespread growth of small urban centres, the major towns of Kampala and Jinja stagnated.

The concepts of dependency, modes of production and structure of social domination are introduced to understand why the large towns should not have stagnated at the rates they did compared to the small and medium centres. Dependency formulations help us understand the dependent nature of social formation in the developing world while a mode of production approach assists us in identifying the major actors in the development process. Dominant class interests, both directly and through the control of the state apparatus "should" accumulate surpluses in the interests of the international system of which they are part which are recirculated within the largest urban areas. And so the major metropolitan areas of Uganda should have grown faster than they did as dominant classes which command economic and political support are closely linked to them. The uniqueness of Uganda's situation leads us to suggest that the emergence of the military must have contributed to the pattern noted in the 1970s.

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