The Republic of Uganda, located in Eastern Africa, is a landlocked country occupying a total area of 241,550.7 square kilometres - 18% of which is open inland waters and wetlands.
It lies astride the equator and is bordered by the Republic of South Sudan to the North, Kenya to the East, Tanzania to the South, Rwanda to the South West and Democratic Republic of Congo to the West.
Uganda has an estimated population of about 34.5 million people and a population growth rate of 3.2%, one of the highest in the world (Source; Uganda Bureau of Statistics).
The country is currently governed under a multiparty system following a national referendum in July 2005, which opened the door for political parties to contest for leadership. Since then, the country has held two elections under the multiparty system (2006 and 2011) won by the incumbent President Yoweri K. Museveni, who first came to power in 1986.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on the 9th of October, 1962, making it the second East African Country to do so.
Its first post-independence election was held in 1962 and won by an alliance between the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) and Kabaka Yekka (KY). UPC and KY formed the first post-independence government with Milton Obote as Executive Prime Minister and the Buganda Kabaka (King) Edward Muteesa II holding the largely ceremonial position of President.
Between 1962 and 1986, the Country had a number of Presidents including Idi Amin Dada (1971-1979), whose eight year reign led to the loss of an estimated 300,000 Ugandans. Following the fall of Idi Amin, Uganda was ruled briefly by the two short-lived transitional governments of Professor Yusuf Lule and Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa. Milton Obote, took over power again in 1980 and his second regime was characterized by extensive abuse of human rights and economic decline. Guerrilla fighters, opposed to the Government, launched attacks that continued under the brief rule of the Lt. Gen. Tito Okello, who had ousted Obote in 1985.
One of the leaders of the insurgency was Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. With his National Resistance Army (NRA), the armed branch of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), he finally took over power in 1986.
With the exception of the north, where insurgent groups continued operating through the 1980s until 2008, when a peace agreement was finally signed with Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which had caused upheaval in Northern Uganda for almost two decades, Uganda has generally experienced peace and stability.
In terms of governance, the 1995 constitution was the fourth constitution of Uganda, which was promulgated following a constituent assembly. Following a national referendum, the 1995 constitution was amended in 2005 to introduce a multiparty political dispensation. It also introduced the constitutional amendment abolishing presidential term limits. Uganda has held two elections for presidential, parliamentary, and local elections under the multiparty political dispensation. These elections were held in 2006 and 2011 respectively.
The past two decades have seen the Ugandan economy go through an expansive phase of sustained economic growth, with GDP growing at an average annual rate of 7.1% from 1992 to 2011, the third highest growth rate recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa during this period, only surpassed by Equatorial Guinea (20.1%) and Liberia (9.8%). This strong economic performance has been driven by growth in the industrial and services sectors (with value added for these activities growing at an average of 9.9% and 8.1% between 1992 and 2011) and has been underpinned by strong investment and export growth (with gross fixed capital formation growing on average by 8.6% per year during this period and export of goods and services growth by 17.2%). This prolonged phase of economic growth has benefitted from a period of relative macroeconomic and political stability, especially since the end of the armed conflict in Northern Uganda in the mid-2000s. Growth has also been bolstered by large inflows of ODA, averaging 14.7% of GNI from 1991 to 2010, as well as by a general policy of openness to both foreign investment and international trade.
National Development Strategy:
With the expiration of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), which had guided national development policy and public expenditure since 1997, the Government developed a comprehensive National Development Plan (NDP) covering 2010/2011-2014/2015. The plan is the first in a series of six development plans that seek to drive progress towards the long-term national vision and transform Uganda from a largely peasant society to a modern and prosperous country (over a 30-year period). The first NDP theme is ‘Growth, Employment and Socio-Economic Transformation for Prosperity’ and proposes an ambitious range of initiatives aimed at improving: household incomes, availability of jobs, physical infrastructure (roads, railways, power supply), access to public services, human capital development, governance and rule of law, and ways to promote a sustainable population and use of the country’s natural resources.
Through the Decentralisation Policy Framework, substantial powers, functions and responsibilities have been devolved to Local Governments, with the objective of improving the delivery of services and ultimately the quality of life of the people. There are currently 111 districts, which are sub-divided into lower administrative units namely; counties, sub counties, parishes and villages or Local Council (LC1).
Uganda is a member of the East African Community, together with Kenya,Tanzania and more recently Rwanda and Burundi.
It’s also a member of the African Union, the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) among others.