- About Uganda
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 34.6 million people, 51% of which is female. At 3.2%, Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates in the world (Source; Uganda Bureau of Statistics).
The country is currently governed under a multi-party 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 three elections under the multiparty system (2006, 2011 and 2016) won by the incumbent President Yoweri K. Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on the 9th of October, 1962.
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 as President of Uganda.
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 (QC). Milton Obote, took over power again in 1980. Guerrilla fighters, opposed to his second Government, launched attacks that continued under the brief rule of the Lt. Gen. Tito Okello, who had ousted him in 1985.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the National Resistance Army (NRA), the armed branch of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), took over power in 1986.
With the exception of the north, where insurgent groups continued operating through the 1980s until 2006, when a cessation of hostilities 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, promulgated after 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 since held held three elections for presidential, parliamentary, and local elections under the multiparty political dispensation. These elections were held in 2006, 2011 and 2016 respectively.
Uganda’s economic outlook has been favourable since the late 1980s. Between 1986 and 1990, the country experienced an average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6.1 per cent. From 1999 to 2000 there were major reforms that resulted in a continued average growth rate of 6.3 per cent. Between 2010 and 2015, the growth rate averaged 5.4 per cent, with the highest recorded at 9.7 per cent in 2011. GDP growth is expected to slightly increase to 5.3 per cent in 2016 from 5 per cent in 2015 with the rebound of private-sector activity after the end of elections.
As a result, per capita income grew 6.3 per cent over the 1990s accelerated to 7.0 per cent in 2000s. Per capita income of increased from US$ 665 in 2009 to US$ 801 in 2015, which is still much less than Sub Saharan average of US$ 1,127. This means per capita income almost doubled over the last two decades. The strong growth was underpinned by strong economic fundamentals, including a prudent fiscal policy, responsive private investment, stable prices, and a liberal economic environment. While the economic prospect remains favourable, low rate of private sector investment growth and the limited degree of transformation from low to higher productivity activities threatens to constrain the acceleration and maintenance of the high growth rates that are necessary to enable the country to achieve middle-income status.
National Development Strategy:
Uganda has a long term Comprehensive National Development Planning Framework (CNDPF) since 2007 that provides for the development of a 30-year Vision, 3 ten-year Perspective Plans, 6 five-year Development Plans, 6 five-year Sector Development Plans (SDPs) and Local Government Development Plans (LGDPs) and annual plans with budgets. To date, the country has already developed the Uganda Vision 2040 and the first and second National Development Plans (NDPs).
Vision 2040 provides the overall guiding framework on sustainable development and socioeconomic transformation for Uganda. The vision is to transform Uganda from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040. This involves transitioning from a predominantly low-income to a competitive upper middle-income. NDP I (2010/11 to 2014/15) whose thrust was “Growth, Employment and Socio-economic Transformation for Prosperity’ was instrumental in instilling the culture and discipline of planning as a basis for development planning and financing. The NDP II (2015/16-2019/20) seeks to achieve middle-income status through strengthening the country’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.
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 and one city - Kampala. The districts are sub-divided into lower administrative units namely; counties, sub counties, parishes and villages or Local Council (LC1).
State of Gender Equality:
Since 1995, the Government of Uganda has promoted gender equality and women’s empowerment. The 1995 Constitution on which most of the country’s legislation is based prohibits laws and traditions against women’s dignity. It is the foundation upon which the 1997 National Gender Policy was formulated.
The policy was revised in 2007 to focus on: 1) expanding women’s participation in decision-making; 2) gender mainstreaming in macro-economic management; 3) gender responsive livelihood enhancement; and 4) elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
Uganda has also domesticated international commitments under MDG 3. These include; the Beijing Platform of Action (1995) and the CEDAW (1979). Legal reforms were also carried out to integrate these into national laws such as; the 2010 law on Domestic Violence; the anti-trafficking in Person Act (2009); the Employment Act (2006); and the Equal Opportunities Commission Act (2007).
These laws have legitimised the work of gender activists enabling them to demand accountability for gender mainstreaming in sector policies, plans, and budgets. Despite this, gender inequality in the lives women and girls is still a challenge.
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.