How Uganda Pentecostal University has contributed to the development of Maguru Trading Center

How Uganda Pentecostal University has contributed to the development of Maguru Trading Center

Located along the Fort Portal- Kasese highway about 2 KM from the Fort Portal City Center is Maguru Trading Center.

The trading center is the nearest and main trading center for the Uganda Pentecostal University (UPU) Muchwa Main Campus.

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In 2010, the administration of the University opened up the Muchwa Campus to host some of the university programs like Law, Journalism and Developmental Studies from the main campus that was located in Kahunga –Bunyonyi Fort Portal town by then.

A section of Maguru trading centre

The opening up of Muchwa campus was a turning point to the small and quite neighborhood of Maguru. What was a bushy area with a handful of buildings was brought to life with a buzz of activities.

Some of the businesses thriving in the area include, salons, tearooms, hotels, supermarkets, boutiques, stationaries, mobile money, agency banking, street food vending, drug shops, photo studios, bars, rental houses, boda bodas and others.

The life of university students is not an ordinary one, they are stylish, live a lavish life and thus the area has to adjust to the demands and needs of the students for benefit and growth.

A view of Maguru

In 2017 when the university moved the main campus to Muchwa, more demand and life came with it.

The population of students tripled which meant that even the place had to adjust the more.

Living Tukahirwa the area Local Council One Chairperson says that the area had a low population of local residents who mainly depended on farming.  He adds that most plots of land in the trading center were bushy and redundant.

How Maguru trading center has changed over time.

However, it started changing when the university came in the place as the owners of these plots started constructing lockups and others houses for rent.

Tukahirwa says that before the university, land was cheap as a plot of land would go for about 3- 5 million however currently there is no more land for sale.

The Chairperson says that in the past, rent for a single roomed house was at 40,000 shillings monthly but currently it is between 100,000 -150,000 thousand shillings.

He revealed that the area has seen a tremendous change of about 70% growth in development because of the university as he says in the audio recording below.

A video showing how Maguru Trading Center looks like as of April 2023

Chairperson explaining how Maguru has grown over time.

However according to Tukahirwa, development comes with challenges. He says that the major challenge they have in the area is security.

“Everywhere you go you will find out that the more an area develops the more it attracts wrong elements and Maguru hasn’t been an exception.” he adds.

He says that the place register cases like theft and others.

A man distributing beer in Maguru trading center.

Tukahirwa told this reporter that the place has no police post but he has written to the City authorities requesting for one.

Tukahirwa on security concerns in Maguru.

Chappati stalls in Maguru

Joseph Murungi a landlord in Maguru says that he has benefited much from the existence of the university as he has clients for his houses.

Murungi adds that the increase in population of people in the area has increased demand for room for accommodation and this has forced house owners to increase rent.

He says that before the university, he had only two rooms he was renting at 50,000 shillings monthly each but due to demand, he constructed six more room which he now charges 100,000 shillings each per month.

Murungi Joseph a landlord talks about demand for rooms for rent.

For almost four years after the university came in place, Maguru trading center had only one stationery shop where all students would do printing and photocopying of their tests and course works.

 However, at the time of filing this story, there are four stationaries serving the same purpose.

Emma Bwambale who owned the first stationary says that his business has grown over time since 2013 up to date.

He says that at the time he opened up the shop, he was a student at the university and he saw how challenging it was for students to move to Fort Portal town to print their course work.

This motivated him to use his pocket money to buy a ream of papers and hire a printing / photocopying machine from a friend. He then rented a room in Maguru and started printing for fellow students at a cost.

Bwambale says that he has never looked back and currently he owns two printing machines, a photocopier and employs one person and has added agency banking and mobile money to his shop.

He attributes the growth of his business to the existence of the university because the students are his main customers.

Emma Bwambale who owns the first stationery in Maguru.

Jennipher Kabahenda who owns a hotel says that had it not been for the university, her business wouldn’t still be running. she says that she opened up a simple merchandise shop in 2012 and later added tea.

However due to the increasing number of students and university staff, there was a demand for food and at that time there was no hotel in the trading center. This forced her to start up aa hotel and now her business has grown to the extent that she even does outside catering.

Since university students love fashion and looking good, Annet Birungi opened up a ladies’ saloon and boutique to tap into the opportunity. She says that she receives students who want to do makeup and hair and she is always assured of customers especially on weekends.

In the video below she explains more

Emma Tusiime who owns a photo studio in Fort Portal Town didn’t want to miss an opportunity of benefiting from the students and opened up a branch in Maguru to serve them as he says in the video.

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