6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

Women harvesting pumpkins, agriculture is one way to achieve goal one on reducing poverty and hunger (UNDP Uganda 2009)
  • Uganda is 5 points away from the expected target for reduction of the number of people living on less than $1 a day.
  • Between 1990 and 2012, Uganda reduced hunger by 15 percent. However, there were set backs in the reduction of under nutrition which increased by 30 percent in that period.
  • Uganda is one of the five countries that achieved the target of reducing the prevalence of underweight children under 5 years of age in 2012. The percentage increase was 61.18, which was well above the 50 per cent target.

Uganda has made great progress in terms of reducing the proportion of the population below the national poverty line. The poverty headcount (i.e., the share of people living in households below the poverty line) declined from 56% in 1992/1993 to 31% in 2005/2006. Using the former survey as the benchmark, this means that Uganda is well on its way to meeting the 2015 global target of cutting poverty in half, which would correspond to a poverty level of around 28% for that year. However, the NDP target is 25% in 2014/2015, which exceeds the global target. The poverty gap, a measure of how far the poor are below the poverty line, has also narrowed. This is an indication of improvements in monetary welfare even among those who have not risen above the poverty line. On the other hand, the share of the poorest 20% of the population in total household consumption has fallen, which is an indication of rising inequality. There is great variation in both the levels of poverty and the degree of poverty reduction in the different geographical zones and regions of the country. Levels of the poverty headcount are much higher in rural areas compared to urban areas—34% and 14%, respectively—and the reduction over time has been strongest in urban areas. Moreover, while the share of urban poor in the most recent surveys has remained more or less constant, the absolute number of poor people in both urban and rural areas, but especially urban ones, has increased due to rapid population growth and urbanisation.

Income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient increased from 0.365 in 1992/93 to 0.428 in 2002/3 before dropping to 0.408 in 2005/6.Despite this drop, inequality is still greater than the level of the early 1990s. The level of inequality is greatest in the urbanised central region and least (and falling) in the north, which is an indication of more uniformly low incomes and probably the loss of capital and assets during the years of the civil war.

The creation of quality jobs is a central development challenge for Uganda; labour productivity is low and the labour market is fraught with great inequalities between men and women. The National Development Plan envisages improvements in employment levels and labour market through a mix of measures that include: implementation of the national youth employment policy and other laws, policies and guidelines on labour productivity and employment; strengthening of

Labour market information systems; establishment of a minimum wage; provision of non-formal skills development targeted at women and youth; and enhancement of opportunities for medium-sized businesses through improved access to finance, entrepreneurship training and promotion of value chains.

However, there has already been some improvement, as the share of the employed population rose slightly from 78% to 80% between 2002/2003 and 2005/2006. Moreover, the conditions for those employed, as measured by the share of employed people living below the poverty line and the share of workers considered particularly vulnerable, appear to have improved over that relatively short time.

Indicators of nutritional status have improved somewhat in Uganda in recent years. The share of underweight children younger than five years of age declined from a national average of 26% in 1995 to 16% in 2005/2006. However, the national averages mask great inequalities between different regions of the country. The share of underweight children was 36% in Karamoja and 22% in the north of the country in 2005/2006, compared to 10% in Kampala. Other significant nutritional indicators show that Iron Deficiency Anaemia is prevalent in 73% of children under 5 and in 49% of women over 15, while vitamin A deficiency affects 20% of children and 19% of all women (UDHS 2005/2006).

UNDP's work in Uganda

  • Payero Millers in Gulu is helping farmers to process and market their produce, enabling them to earn relatively higher incomes, leading to a higher standard of living.

    Increasing smallholder farmers' incomes through value addition

    The early morning sun is unforgiving. But Bosco Oryem Owiny doesn’t seem to mind the heat. He is in the gardens ploughing away with his cow.more

  • Dennis Obote (left) sharing his peace building and conflict management experiences with NUERP Peace Facilitator, Acak Paul, at his home, Bar Lwala village, Arwotngo parish Okwang sub-county, Otuke District, during a monitoring visit in December 2011. Photo: UNDP-Uganda

    Using "Peace Rings" to curb conflict and improve livelihoods

    Dennis Obote may not have gone to law school but he considers himself a peace advocate. In the last year alone, Dennis has overseen the successfulmore

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Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption