In St. Balikuddembe Market, Kampala, while the day winds down, Ssemwogerere Andrew digs into a bale of rubber shoes, determined to secure a last-minute sale. The market’s history hasn’t always been this forgiving for vendors like Ssemwogerere, who have often faced early closures.
“These lights are very important. Before they were installed, we used to have limited time to work but from the time the government provided the lights, we started making reasonable revenue,” Andrew explains.
Popularly known as Owino Market, this is the biggest market in Uganda and among the 16 public markets that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) took over. The takeover comes following a presidential directive banning old market leaderships and seeing to the subsequent appointment of 36 new administrators under the KCCA.
As part of the rehabilitation plan, the KCCA kicked off installation of solar lighting and standalone street lights.
Simon Kasyate, the KCCA spokesperson, explains that the project is part of “social responsibility or sustainability relationship with organisations, both state and non-state.”
“We are working with several LED partners to do installation of the solar powered lights. For example, you have seen solar powering of our yard in Owino market the biggest market in this city,” he explains.
The rehabilitation is expected to boost economic and retail activities for the over 50,000 local businesses and over 30,000 people coming into the market daily, according to Aptech Africa. Before this, vendors had to close early and put away their merchandise because of lack of security.
The project was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with KCCA.
In a past interview with the Nile Post, Dorothy Kisaka, the Executive Director, KCCA applauded the Ugandan government for making the partnership a success.
Source : Independent