Uganda also known as a ‘Pearl of Africa’ is a landlocked country located in the heart of Africa, astride the Equator, bordered by Kenya in the east, South Sudan in the north, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south. Uganda occupies most of the Lake Victoria Basin. Uganda lies between latitudes of 4 degrees North and 1 degree South and longitudes of 30 degrees East and 35 degrees East. The total area of the country is about 241,038 square kilometres including 36,330 square kilometres of inland water. Uganda’s altitude ranges from 620 meters to 5,110 meters above sea level.
Pearl of Africa
Uganda is endowed with outstanding topographical features which include the Kigezi highlands (referred to as the Switzerland of Africa), the Ruwenzori mountains (referred to as the Mountains of the Moon), lush forests, game parks, natural lakes and the source of the Nile. There is very little seasonal variation in the climate which is warm and fairly humid. Temperature averages 22o’c (16o-30o) centigrade in most of the country with rainfall of about 500-2100 millimetres per year. ‘The beauty, wildlife, diversity, and friendly people of Uganda led Winston Churchill to refer to Uganda as ‘The Pearl of Africa’.
According to the 2014 National Population and Housing Census (Census) Uganda’s population stood at 34.9 million with average annual growth of 3.2%. The population is projected to reach 37.8 million in 2017. Nearly half of the population is below the age of 15 years and the population structure is expected to remain youthful for the next fifteen years. Uganda’s urban population has increased rapidly from less than 1 million in 1980 to 6.4 million persons in 2014, indicating a more than six fold increase and estimated to be over 7 million in 2017. The percentage of Uganda’s population living in urban areas increased from 15.77% in 2014 to 16.1% in 2015 and stands at 19% in 2017. Uganda’s urbanisation rate stands at 5.43 % per annum an indication that Uganda is increasing becoming urbanised. The above population trend represents several challenges to future economic growth and structural transformation unless serious measures are taken to convert it into a population dividend.
The commercial languages include the following;
Uganda is a Sovereign State and a member of the United Nations, African Union, the Commonwealth and a number of international organisations and got its independence on 9th October 1962 under Prime Minister Milton Obote. The Constitution promulgated on 8 October 1962 on the eve of Uganda’s Independence Day has been amended four times with the last major amendment being in 1995. The 1995 Constitution provides for three branches of government namely the executive, the legislature, and the Judiciary was drawn up by the constituent assembly. The roles and powers of each of the Government branch are enshrined and spelt out in the 1995 Uganda Constitution. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni under National Resistance Movement has ruled Uganda without interruption since in 1986. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has been credited with restoring relative stability and economic prosperity to Uganda since 1986 was in February 2016 democratically re-elected for another term with a vote of 60.62%. .
Uganda’s total road network is estimated to be 129,469 km long and analysed as follows;
- Community access roads 50%
- District roads 26%
- Urban roads 7%
- National roads 17 %.
95% of cargo freight in Uganda is moved by road.
Uganda’s metre gauge railway network is 1,250 kms long of which 56% is operational. Plans are underway for Uganda to build its portion of the standard gauge railway gauge.
Entebbe International Airport is the only air gateway to Uganda. Total commercial aircraft movements in Uganda totalled 28,347 in 2016 compared to 27,650 in 2015. There was a growth of 2.52% in 2016 compared to 2.84% in 2015. The country received 697,930 international passengers in 2016 compared to 684, 152 in 2015. The airport handled 20,182 of imports and 39, 376 tons of exports in 2016 compared to 21,789 tons of imports and 32, 660 exports in 2015. The airport handled 697, 930 international visitors in 2016 compared to 684,152 in 2015.
Telecom sub sector of Uganda that was liberalised in 2010 has eight main operators that have penetrated more than 50% of the Ugandan population. The key mobile company operators include MTN; Airtel; Africell; Vodafone; Smile Telecom; Smart Telecom; Sure Telecom; and K2 Telecom.
The local newspapers and magazines have not shown significant increase over the last ten years. The Daily Monitor and The New Vision newspapers are still dominating the print section of media.
There are over 200 radio stations that have evolved over time in order to remain relevant to their listeners.
There are only seven television pay stations and about 28 free to air television stations currently operating in Uganda.
The internet media platform is quite new with low number of users. According to Internet Live Stats there were 7,645,197 internet users with a penetration rate of only 19% as of 2016.
Mobile money transfer
The mobile money transfer has enhanced the financial inclusion in Uganda because it has helped in pushing the financial sector penetration rate to over 50% of the population. In 2015 the number of registered customers stood at 21.1 millions. In the same years the registered customers carried out 693 million transactions with value of transactions of Uganda shillings 32,506 billion.
From the installed hydro capacity, Uganda is generating hydro power of 695 mw. However the current levels of electricity supply cannot support heavy industries like steel mills, textile mills and aluminum processing plants. There is therefore a need to enhance electricity supply in order to attract heavy industries. The speedy implementation of the Karuma Hydropower Project that is expected to add up to 600 MW to the national grid will be a development in the right direction.
Education is a priority sector when it comes to government resource allocations. The increased budget allocation has enhanced the access of many children to basic and secondary education. The performance of the students has also improved. In 2015, primary school level pass rates were recorded at 88.3% and pass rates for secondary schools at 91%. The 2012/13 Uganda National Household Survey showed an overall literacy rate of 71 percent among persons aged 10 years and above. Government therefore recognises that quality education makes population functionally literate and productive.
Ugandan health standards aim at addressing the following health indicators:
- Reducing the maternal mortality rate
- Improving access to maternal and reproductive health services
- Improving life expectancy
There have been positive developments in the above indicators within the limitations of the resources available to government. The Uganda budget allocation to the sector is still below the recommended 10% as per the Abuja declaration. Government expenditure on health sector reduced from 8.7% in 2013/14 to 8.5% in 2014/15 and 7% in 2015/16.The biggest challenge in health sector is the development of the required technology, tools and staff to attend to ever growing population.
The financial sector (banking and insurance) is relatively well developed in Uganda and has remained resilient to shocks with adequate capital and liquidity buffers. Uganda has currently 23 commercial banks, 29 insurance companies, 1 re-insurance company, 3 credit institutions, 5 other non-banking finance institutions and 252 forex bureaux. The banking sector is regulated by Bank of Uganda and the insurance sector is regulated by the Uganda Insurance Commission.
Other details of the profile of Uganda are summarised as follows;
Ugandan National Anthem
Presidents of Uganda
Background and Geography of Uganda
Development partners with Uganda
Exports of Uganda
International Trade Agreements with Uganda
Investment Authority of Uganda
Investment Guarantees in Uganda
Membership of International organisations
Natural Resources of Uganda
Population and Health of Uganda
Trading Partners of Uganda
Vision 2040 of Uganda