Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The earliest human inhabitants in Uganda were hunter-gathers. Remnants of these people are today to be found among the pygmies in western Uganda. Approximately 2000 to 1500 years ago, Bantu speaking populations from central and western Africa migrated and occupied most of the southern parts of the country. The migrants brought with them agriculture, ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization, that by the 15th - 16th century resulted in the development of centralized kingdoms, including the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara and Ankole.
Beginning in 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the UK, who established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from the UK on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by violent conflicts, including an eight-year-long far-right military dictatorship led by Idi Amin. Additionally, a lengthy civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army in the Northern Region led by Joseph Kony caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The official languages are English and Swahili, although "any other language may be used as a medium of instruction in schools or other educational institutions or for legislative, administrative or judicial purposes as may be prescribed by law. Luganda, a central language, is widely spoken across the country, and several other languages are also spoken, including Lango, Acholi, Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, Luo, and Lusoga.
The current president of Uganda is Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who came to power in January 1986 after a protracted six-year guerrilla war.
Following constitutional amendments that removed term limits for the president, he was able to stand and was elected president of Uganda in the 2011 and in the 2016 general elections
The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of Uganda, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Parliament and, also appoints the Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.
The Parliament of Uganda derives its mandate and functions from the 1995 Constitution, the Laws of Uganda and its own Rules of Procedure. The Constitution contains articles which provide for the establishment, composition and functions of the Parliament of Uganda and empowers Parliament "to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda", and "to protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance in Uganda".
under article 78(1) of the 1995 Constitution prescribes the composition of Parliament as follows:
Parliament shall consist of: Members directly elected to represent constituencies; One woman representative for every district; Such numbers of representatives of the army, youth, workers, persons with disabilities and other groups as Parliament may determine; and The Vice-President and Ministers who, if not already elected Members of Parliament, shall be ex-officio members without the right to vote on any issue requiring a vote in Parliament. Parliament is presided over by the Speaker, and in his/her absence, by the Deputy Speaker both of whom are elected by Members of Parliament from their number.
The Judiciary is the third arm of Government, under the doctrine of separation of powers. The Lord Chief Justice deputized by a Lord Deputy Chief Justice heads the Judiciary. The superior courts of Uganda are the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court. The Constitution Court sits whenever necessary.
The Judiciary is formed by the various courts of judicature, which are independent of the other arms of government. They include the magisterial courts, High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The Uganda Judiciary has undergone tremendous changes since the turn of the last century to the present time. In that regard, following the enactment of the 1995 Constitution, the Judiciary structure has been redefined to consist of the following courts: Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or Constitutional Court, High Court, Chief Magistrates Courts, Grade I Magistrate’s Courts, Grade II Magistrate’s Courts, The Local Council Courts, Family and Children Courts and Land.
UGANDA ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
Macroeconomic performance and outlook
The Ugandan economy reported strong growth in 2019, estimated at 6.3%, largely driven by the expansion of services. Services growth averaged 7.6% in 2019, and industrial growth 6.2%, driven by construction and mining. Agriculture grew at just 3.8%. Retail, construction, and telecommunications were key economic drivers. Inflation is expected to remain below 5%, strengthening the domestic economy.
Government spending continues to increase, underpinned by public infrastructure and capital investments for the nascent oil and gas industry. Expenditures have increased faster than domestic revenues, widening the fiscal deficit in 2019. The deficit is largely financed through external borrowings, supplemented with domestic securities. Despite the rise in the deficit, Uganda is classified at low risk of debt distress. However, debt reached an estimated 43.6% of GDP in 2019, up from 25% in 2012, raising medium-term concerns. Lending remains within IMF limits, but risks have increased due to higher costs of debt servicing and infrastructure investments.
Exports– dependent on primary products, have not kept up with imports, widening the trade deficit to an estimated 9.4% of GDP in 2019 from 8.3% in 2018. The increasing current account deficit has been largely financed by foreign direct investment (2.6% of GDP) and externally financed projects. External reserves were at a comfortable 4.4 months of imports in 2019, while the exchange rate was stable, averaging 3,727 Ugandan shillings per dollar.
The poverty rate fell during the past two decades but rebounded in 2016/17, reaching 21.4%, meaning that 10 million people were living below the national poverty line. Inequality has changed a little. More than two-thirds of the working-age population is in agriculture. Four-fifths of workers are own account workers or contributing family workers, with one-fifth in paid employment or themselves employers. Youth unemployment is a challenge.
Retail, construction, and telecommunications drive the economy, with mining, transport, and hospitality expected to grow as oil and gas investments are made. Price stability will boost domestic business confidence while fiscal policy is likely to remain accommodating.
Urban development with rapid urbanization, rising population density, increasing market size and access, clustering of skills and technology, and proximity to financial institutions offers opportunities for business development, firm creation, and new jobs. Kampala was, until 2019, Uganda’s only urban agglomeration classified as a city. The reclassification of nine municipalities as regional cities can promote new opportunities. The new cities will be phased in over three years, expanding infrastructure such as paved roads, power distribution, water and sanitation services, and waste management.
Poor global growth, affected by the US–China trade tensions and stagnant growth and subdued demand in Europe risks reducing Ugandan exports. Domestically, adverse weather can lower agriculture production, harming the trade balance and current account balance, given the importance to Uganda of exporting food to the East Africa region. Other domestic risks include weak revenue mobilization, weak private sector credit growth, and fiscal expansion in the run-up to the upcoming elections.
Uganda’s economic performance is influenced by developments in the global economic environment. A slowdown in the global economy as a result of Coronavirus will have a negative impact on Uganda’s economy.
Uganda is transitioning to a service economy but faces low productivity and low job creation. The economy has become more productive, but productivity differences across industry, services, and agriculture are large. Industrial productivity is seven to eight times higher than in the other two sectors, but it cannot absorb the 600,000 youths entering the jobs market each year.
Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, employing 70% of the population, and contributing half of Uganda’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The agricultural sector is composed of both the monetary and non-monetary subsectors. Its share in GDP has declined from 64.1 percent in 1985 to 41.0 percent in 2001. The non-monetary subsector of agriculture has been the most affected declining from 39.9 percent of total GDP in 1985 to 22.7 percent in 2000. Nonetheless, the agricultural sector remains the backbone of Uganda’s economy as its main source of livelihood and employment for over 60 percent of the population. It contributes over 70 percent of Uganda’s export earnings and provides the bulk of the raw materials for most of the industries that are predominantly agro-based.
Agricultural output primarily comes from about 3 million smallholder subsistence farmers, who own an average farmland area of 2.5 ha. The agricultural sector is dominated by the production of food crops, but cash crops, livestock, fishery and forestry are also important. Food crops accounted for 72.4 percent of agricultural GDP in 1985, falling to 65.3 percent in 2000.
The main food crop is bananas, which accounted for 28 percent of the total cropped area in 2000, followed by cereals, root crops, pulses and oilseeds with 25 percent, 17 percent, 14 percent and 8 percent of the area, respectively. Despite the dominance of food crop production, only one-third is marketed. Cash crops, livestock, fish and forestry accounted for 4.5 percent, 16.5 percent, 4.0 percent and 2.6 percent of agricultural output in 1985, and 8.9 percent, 6.9 percent, 4.6 percent and 4.3 percent in 2000, respectively. Although Uganda is able to meet its domestic food needs, food products like wheat and rice are imported to cater for the urban population.
Uganda’s exports are dominated by traditional cash crops such as coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco, with coffee being the principal export crop. However, the share of traditional cash crops in total exports has declined from 96.0 percent in 1985 to 38.3 percent in 2001. This fall is mainly attributed to the collapse of world coffee prices and failure to add value to the cash crops as well as the high dependence on a few export commodities. The contribution to export earnings of non-traditional export products that include fish, maize, hides and skins have increased because of trade liberalization and an aggressive export promotion campaign by government.
The Ugandan economy has experienced sustained growth since the 1990s. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average of 6.5% annually during 1990–2018, whereas real GDP per capita grew more slowly, at 3.1% per annum, during the same period.
During this period of sustained growth, Uganda experienced some degree of economic transformation. The share of agriculture value added in GDP declined from 53% in 1990 to 24% in 2018. The contribution of industry (including manufacturing, construction and mining) to GDP grew from 10% to 20%, and the contribution of the services sector from 30% to 48%.
The economy still relies on agriculture and the services sector.
The industrial sector is dominated by small-scale firms providing limited value addition. Industrialisation, and especially the manufacturing sector, remains crucial for Uganda. The country has the second-highest (although declining) dependency ratio in the world. Uganda also has one of the world’s highest fertility rates (number of children per woman) and population growth rates, at above 3%. The National Planning Authority (NPA) projects that, if current trends continue, the gap between the working-age population and the employed population will increase from 5 to 22 million people
Food and Beverage
Food and drink is a key sector in Uganda’s economy with agriculture accounting for 21% of the GDP, responsible for about 46% of total export earnings and employing over 65% of the population.
The Ugandan food and drink sector consists of the food sub-sector covering food crops and processed food products and the drink sub-sector covering coffee, tea, cocoa as well as manufactured alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Uganda has the potential to become the bread basket for the Eastern and Central African region given its good climate and abundant arable land. With increasing regional demand, an ever-increasing export market is threatening domestic food prices and reserves. Large scale commercial farming to boost production, irrigation to counter climate change factors and warehousing for long term storage are being promoted to boost the sector.
Processed Food Products
Uganda’s main industries are agro-based. The main processed foods include meat (154MT), fish (41MT), Edible oils and fats (262MT), dairy production (327MT), grain milling (359MT), bakery production (359MT), sugar processing (170MT), animal feed (110MT) and fruit processing. Both government and private sector efforts in processed foods have been directed towards value addition and quality improvement.
Coffee, Cocoa and Tea
Coffee is Uganda’s main export. Year-on-year cumulative coffee exports for the (April 01, 2011 to March 31, 2012) totalled 3.16 m bags worth $474 million comprising of Robusta (2.41 million bags) and Arabica ( 0.75 million bags). Uganda is Africa’s third-biggest tea producer after Kenya and Malawi with tea production increasing by 9.1% in 2011 to 60million kilograms. Whilst cocoa has not been a major crop in Uganda, the government is actively supporting the growth of cocoa with current yields currently at over 10,000 tonnes annually and earning $25million.
These include carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices and bottled water. The biggest soft drink producers are franchises of big international companies’ coca-cola and Pepsi cola. By 2010, the fruit juice industry in Uganda had grown 300% since 2005. With the influx of supermarkets in Uganda, bottled drinks are becoming increasingly popular with positive forecasts.
These comprise beer producing companies and spirits producing companies. Uganda is one of the five biggest beer consumers in Africa with per capita consumption of 8 litres per individual per annum
Today, forest and woodland-cover in Uganda stands at 49,000 km² or 24% of the total land area. Of these 9,242.08 km² is tropical rainforest, 350.60 km² are forest plantations and 39,741.02 km² is woodland. 30% of these areas are protected as national parks, wildlife reserves or central forest reserves. Economic crises often hamper efforts to conserve natural resources.
To revive forestry, the government abolished the Forest Department and established the National Forestry Authority (Uganda)(NFA) in 2004. This action aimed to increase revenue and quality of forest management
As of April 2019, generation capacity was 1,167 megawatts, with peak demand of about 625 megawatts and approximately 25 percent national electrification rate. At that time, an estimated 1,000 new customers were requesting grid power connection on a daily basis, with over 1.3 million existing Umeme connections. As of October 2019, the Uganda Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development estimated that 28 percent of Uganda's population had access to electricity. In September 2019, Uganda signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Russia to build capacity to exploit nuclear technology for energy, medical and other peaceful purposes
Uganda occupies a strategic position in East Africa, which gives it the advantage for the eventual development of exports of mineral products of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania and the COMESA region as a whole.
Mineral resources have been identified and are already being informally mined in the different parts of the country areas; there are several mineral potential formations most especially gold in the Karamoja region and other areas, copper in Kasese, extensive marble formations in Eastern part of the country (Moroto), phosphates in Tororo and huge deposits of iron ore in central Uganda. New iron smelting factories are being set up and the government’s negotiation for iron ore mining is underway.
Uganda’s financial system is composed of formal, semiformal, and informal institutions. The formal institutions include Banks, Microfinance Deposit-taking institutions, Credit Institutions, Insurance companies, Development Banks, Pension Funds, and Capital Markets. The semi-formal institutions include Savings and Credit Cooperative Associations (SACCO) and other Microfinance institutions, whereas the informal ones are mostly village savings and loans associations. Formal institutions are less prominent in rural areas than urban areas and they only serve 14% of the rural population. Informal institutions play an important role in the rural service provisions and serve approximately 12% of the rural population.
Tourism in Uganda is focused on Uganda's landscape and wildlife. It is a major driver of employment, investment, and foreign exchange, contributing 4.9 trillion Ugandan shillings (US$1.88 billion or €1.4 billion as of August 2013) to Uganda's GDP in the financial year 2012-13.
Presently, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, and the Uganda Tourism Board maintain information along with statistics about tourism for the country. There has been increased investment in tourism, particularly in travel accommodation and related facilities; this has enhanced tourists' experience in the country.
Uganda has a very diverse culture, landscape, flora, and fauna.
Game and bird viewing
Game viewing is the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Wild animals like lions, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s ten national parks. Uganda is one of only ten countries where it is possible to visit endangered gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are Uganda's prime tourist attraction. The vast majority of these are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with a few others in Mgahinga National Park, both in southwestern Uganda.
Boating and Water Sports
With its prime location in the African Great Lakes region, Uganda has a variety of water bodies that are popular spots for tourism. White water rafting and kayaking are popular activities on the rapids near the source of the Nile at Jinja.
Boating which is commonly done on Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo, Lake Bunyonyi, Kazinga Channel, and River Nile is a perfect way of exploring the buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and a wide variety of bird species that inhabit the banks of these water bodies. Sport fishing is another favorite tourist activity. Fish like the Nile perch, and tilapia can be caught in designated areas of Lake Mburo and the banks of the Nile. Canoeing can also be done at Lake Bunyonyi.
Hiking and Mountain Climbing
Uganda has many opportunities for mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks. The Rwenzori Mountains, which are found at the border with the DRC, include the snowcapped Margherita Peak (5109 m), the highest Mountain Range in Africa and also one of the highest peaks. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also includes three peaks, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabyinyo, and Mount Muhavura, the highest peak in the national park. Mount Elgon, located in Eastern Uganda, can be used for hiking and climbing, and also has one of the largest calderas in the world.
Religious tourism is a steadily growing tourism product niche in Uganda after wildlife-based tourism. However, limited research has curtailed planning and development of religious tourism in the country.
The culture of Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people, who dominate much of East, Central, and Southern Africa. In Uganda, they include the Baganda and several other tribes
In the north, the Lango and the Acholi peoples predominate, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language, whereas the Gishu are part of the Bantu and live mainly on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. They speak Lumasaba, which is closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.
Christians make up 85.2 percent of Uganda's population. There were sizeable numbers of Sikhs and Hindus in the country until Asians were expelled in 1972 by Idi Amin, following an alleged dream, although many are now returning following an invitation from President Yoweri Museveni. Muslims make up 12 percent of Uganda's population.
Football is the national sport in Uganda. The Uganda national football team, nicknamed "The Cranes" is controlled by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations. They have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals. Their best finish in the African Cup of Nations was second in 1978.