Jinja, Uganda

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This article is about the city of Jinja. For the corresponding district, see Jinja District.
Idindha  (Soga)
Jinja PICT0177.JPG
Jinja is located in Uganda
Location in Uganda
Coordinates: 00°25′24″N 33°12′14″E / 0.42333°N 33.20389°E / 0.42333; 33.20389Coordinates: 00°25′24″N 33°12′14″E / 0.42333°N 33.20389°E / 0.42333; 33.20389
Country  Uganda
Region Eastern Region
Sub-region Busoga
District Jinja
 • Mayor (Muhammad Kezaala Baswale)
Population (2014 Census)[1]
 • Total 72,931

Jinja is a town in Uganda, the third-largest economy in the East African Community.[2]


Jinja is in Jinja District, Busoga sub-region, in the Eastern Region of Uganda. The town is approximately 81 kilometres (50 mi), by road, east of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.[3]

It sits along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, near the source of the White Nile.[4] The nearby Owen Falls Dam and adjacent Kiira Dam regulate the flow of the White Nile and generate electricity.[citation needed]

According to the 2014 national population census data, Jinja is the largest metropolitan area in the Jinja District and the 14th-largest town in the country.[1] The coordinates of Jinja, Uganda are 0°25'24.0"N, 33°12'24.0"E (Latitude:0.423333; Longitude:33.206667).[5]


In 1954, the construction of the Owen Falls Dam submerged the Ripon Falls. Most of the "Flat Rocks" that gave the area its name disappeared under water as well. A description of what the area looked like can be found in the notes of John Hanning Speke, the first European to lay eyes on the source of the Nile:

"Though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected, for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about twelve feet deep and four to five hundred feet broad, were broken by rocks; still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours. The roar of the waters, the thousands of passenger fish leaping at the falls with all their might, the fishermen coming out in boats, and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake, made in all, with the pretty nature of the country—small grassy-topped hills, with trees in the intervening valleys and on the lower slopes—as interesting a picture as one could wish to see."[6]

Population during the 2000s[edit]

The national census of 2002 estimated Jinja's population to be 71,213 of which 36,325 were males and 34,888 were females. In 2010, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the population at 82,800. In 2011, UBOS estimated the population at 89,700.[7] In 2014, the national population census put the population at 72,931[1] However, the Municipality Authority contested the recent census of 2014, saying it under-counted Jinja's population.[8]

The majority of the population are of Bantu origin. Lusoga is the main local language. Jinja has a large population of inhabitants who are defined as "working urban poor". The average annual household income is estimated at US $100.[2]


Jinja had the second largest economy in Uganda.[9][10] In the past, factories chose Jinja as their base due to the proximity of the electric power station at the Owen Falls Dam.[11] Since the early 2000s, the economy of Jinja has picked up steadily.[12] The main economic activities take place in the central business district.[9]

A new market for fresh produce was completed during the fourth quarter of 2014. The facility, which can accommodate up to 4,500 vendors, cost US$13.7 million to construct, with a loan from the African Development Bank over a three-year period from 2011 until 2014.[13]

The biggest local employer is the Kakira Sugar Works (KSW), a member of the Madhvani Group of companies. KSW is one of the largest sugar factories in East Africa, employing over 75,000. The factory burns bagasse byproducts from sugar manufacturing to generate 50 megawatts of electricity for internal use and sale to the national grid.[10][14] Sugar cane cutting median wages are about 1000 UGX per day.[9]

The headquarters of Nile Breweries Limited can also be found in Njeru, a suburb of Jinja, near the Source of the Nile, from which the brewery has been drawing its water for the past fifty years. Building of the brewery commenced in 1952 but was only completed four years later. Bottles of Nile Beer, renamed Nile Special Lager, the company's flagship brand, were first enjoyed by consumers back in 1956. In 2001, Nile Breweries Limited was fully acquired by South African Breweries.[15]

MM Integrated Steel Uganda Limited is one of the leading manufacturers of steel in the region. It has completed a $47 million (Shs122 billion) plant to produce 50,000 metric tonnes of steel products a year and directly employs 1,800 people.[16] The company has projected to invest $600 million through 2018.[17]

The international oil refining company called Bidco, maintains a palm oil factory in the city. The palm oil fruits come from Bidco's 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) plantation on Bugala Island in the Ssese Islands Archipelago, Kalangala District, in Lake Victoria. The factory in the islands crushes the fruit and the crude palm oil is transported to Jinja for refining into edible oil and other products.[18]

Kiira Motor Corporation, also known as the Kiira EV Project, a locally based startup car company, expects to set up the first car manufacturing facility in Uganda, based in Jinja.[19] The Kiira EV Project received 100 acres (40 ha) of land at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park. Production is expected to start in 2018. The government of Uganda will provide funding to the initial production and setting up of a factory for the Kiira EV car project.[20][21]


The following financial institutions maintain branches in Jinja:


The city also has several educational establishments including the following:

Universities and colleges[edit]

Civil Service College Uganda
  • Jinja School of Ophthalmic Clinical Officers[44]
  • Medical Laboratory Technicians School, Jinja[45]
  • Pasty Helm Memorial Vocational Training Center[46]
Civil Service College Uganda

Military colleges[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Primary schools[edit]

  • Riverside Academy[59]
  • Kiira International School[60]
  • Galaxy International School-Jinja Campus[61]
  • Jinja Christian School[62]
  • Victoria Nile Primary School[63]
  • Maggwa Crescent Primary School[64]
  • Spire Road Primary School[65]
  • Jinja Montessori Pre School[66]
  • Vic View Primary School[67]
  • Kiira Primary School[68]
  • Shilo Nile Star Nursery and Primary School[69][70]

There are many primary schools in Jinja, with many of them participating in Uganda's Universal Primary School Education.


Jinja is the location of Qaddafi Barracks, an institution of the Uganda People's Defence Force. The barracks are the location of the Uganda Junior Staff College,[71] one of the dozen or so military schools in Uganda.[72] The town is also the location of the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, another UPDF institution, located at Kimaka, a neighborhood situated about 2.8 miles (4.5 km) north of the central business district of Jinja.[73]

Electricity generation[edit]

In 1993, construction began on a second power station, at the source of the White Nile; an extension of the original Nalubaale Power Station. The new extension, completed in 2003, was named Kiira Power Station, and is capable of producing 200MW of hydroelectric power at maximum utilization.[74]


Jinja station with a Uganda Railways diesel locomotive.

Jinja is a major station on the Uganda Railway and is a port for Lake Victoria ferries.

There is a good tarmac road west from Jinja to Kampala, 81 kilometres (50 mi) away (90 minutes by car, two hours by bus). The tarmac road to Tororo, 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the east of Jinja, has been improved with the completion of the Jinja-Bugiri Highway. Buses and minibuses provide transport between Jinja and other Ugandan towns.

Transport in Jinja is dominated by the motorbike (Boda boda) and small owner-operated cars locally known as Mycar.

Jinja Airport, a small civilian and military airport,[75] is located at Kimaka, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of Jinja's central business district.

A bridge, known as the New Jinja Bridge, is planned across the Nile, connecting the town of Njeru to Jinja. Construction started in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2016.[76]

Local attractions[edit]

Jinja is commonly regarded as "the adventure capital of East Africa" due to the many tourist activities in town.[77]

Local attractions include white-water rafting, the "Source of the Nile", Bungee Jumping,[78] and a large brewery. About 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Jinja is the Bujagali Power Station. The hydroelectric facility is providing 250 megawatts of electric power.[79]

Buwenge also has the headquarters of Jinja District.[80]

There is an active Hindu temple near Jinja, which has a bronze bust of Gandhi.

Other landmarks[edit]

Jinja is the location of the headquarters of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, a subsidiary of the East African Community.[81] Jinja also has the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jinja, headed by Bishop Charles Martin Wamika.[82]

Geographic data[edit]

Jinja hosts the regional offices of the Uganda Red Cross Society, a humanitarian organization.[83]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great African Travellers, From Mungo Park to Livingstone and Stanley, The Project Gutenberg EBook of Great African Travellers, by W.H.G. Kingston (2007) (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/21391/21391-h/21391-h.htm).


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  2. ^ a b VUC (2000). "Visiting Uganda: Jinja". Visiting-Uganda.com (VUC). 
  3. ^ "Road Distance Between Kampala And Jinja With Map". Globefeed.com. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  4. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (13 January 2014). "Profile of Lake Victoria, East Africa". Britinnica.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Google (2 July 2015). "Location of Jinja, Uganda At Google Maps" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Kingston, W. H. G. (2007). "Great African Travellers, From Mungo Park to Livingstone and Stanley, The Project Gutenberg EBook of Great African Travellers". Gutenberg.org. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  7. ^ UBOS (2011). "Estimated Population of Jinja In 2002, 2010 & 2011" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Walukamba, Aldon G (16 March 2015). "Jinja Municipality Contests UBOS Population Statistics". Uganda Radio Network. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Wagner, Florian (29 May 2010). "Economy of Jinja". Jinja.eu. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  10. ^ a b VUC (17 August 2015). "Jinja". Visiting-Uganda.com (VUC). Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
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  12. ^ TEA (16 August 2015). "The return of Jinja, town on the Nile". The EastAfrican (TEA). Nairobi. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Nabwiiso, Samuel (10 August 2014). "$13 Million Jinja Market Close to Completion". East African Business Week. Kampala. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
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External links[edit]