Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation and adopted policies that have promoted rapid economic development. The country's infrastructure--notably its transportation and communications systems that were destroyed by war and neglect--is being rebuilt. Recognizing the need for increased external support, Uganda negotiated a policy framework paper with the IMF and the World Bank in 1987. It subsequently began implementing economic policies that have resulted in a consistent pace of economic growth over the last 21 years. Growth rates in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 were 8.7% and 7.1%, respectively. Inflation increased from 7.7% in 2007 to 14.2% in 2009, well above the government's annual target average of 5%, but declined dramatically in 2010 as food crop prices decreased. Uganda was the first country to be eligible for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and had virtually all of its foreign debts forgiven by the IMF, World Bank, and major donors.
The service sector was the largest contributor to GDP in 2009 (at 51%). Manufacturing was second (24.7%), and agriculture was a close third (24.3%). Despite their dwindling shares of Uganda’s GDP, the agriculture and fishing sectors provide approximately 80% of employment in Uganda. Uganda is Africa's second-leading producer of coffee, which accounted for about 23% of the country's exports in 2007-2008. Exports of non-traditional products, including apparel, hides, skins, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, and fish, are growing, while traditional exports such as cotton, tea, and tobacco continue to be mainstays.
Most industry is related to agriculture. The industrial sector has been rehabilitated and resumed production of building and construction materials, such as cement, reinforcing rods, corrugated roofing sheets, and paint. Domestically produced consumer goods include plastics, soap, cork, beer, and soft drinks.
Oil experts estimate Uganda has two billion to six billion barrels of recoverable oil. Oil reserves of this size would place Uganda among sub-Saharan Africa’s top oil producers and could double current government revenues within 10 years. Most of Uganda’s known oil reserves are located along Lake Albert and the D.R.C. border, in one of Africa’s most ecologically sensitive areas. Uganda and several private oil companies hope to begin small-scale production as early as 2011. Potential construction of a domestic oil refinery and export pipeline are contingent upon ongoing feasibility studies and negotiations between oil companies and the government.
Roads are the most commonly used transportation infrastructure in Uganda, accounting for more than 90% of cargo freight and passenger transportation. Uganda has about 78,100 kilometers (48,529 mi.) of roads. Only 3,000 kilometers (1,864 mi.) are paved, and most roads radiate from Kampala. The country has a 321 kilometer (200 mi.) rail network, much of which is not currently in use. Uganda's road and rail links to Mombasa serve some of the transportation needs of the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and parts of D.R.C. and Sudan. Entebbe International Airport is on the shore of Lake Victoria, some 32 kilometers (20 mi.) south of Kampala.
GDP (nominal, 2009): $15.7 billion.
Natural resources: Copper, cobalt, hydropower, limestone, salt, phosphate, oil.
Agriculture: Cash crops--coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), potatoes, corn, millet, cut flowers. Food crops--bananas, corn, cassava, potatoes, millet, pulses. Livestock and fisheries--beef, goat meat, milk, poultry, Nile perch, tilapia.
Industry: Processing of agricultural products (cotton ginning, coffee curing), cement production, light consumer goods, textiles.
Trade: Exports (2009 est.)--$2.25 billion: coffee, fish and fish products, tea, tobacco, textiles, cement, maize, electricity. Major markets--EU, Sudan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Switzerland, Rwanda. Imports (2009 est.)--$5.24 billion: petroleum, road vehicles, cereals, industrial machinery, iron and steel, medical/pharmaceutical supplies. Major suppliers--EU, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, India, China.
Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.
The 1995 constitution established Uganda as a republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every 5 years. President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2001, 2006, and 2011. Legislative responsibility is vested in the parliament; legislative elections are held every 5 years. Because of redistricting, the new parliament elected in February 2011 will grow from 332 to 376 members, including 112 special seats for women, 10 special seats for military, five for youth, and five for persons with disabilities. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent branch of government and consists of magistrate's courts, high courts, courts of appeals (which also function as constitutional courts), and the Supreme Court. Parliament and the judiciary are independent bodies and wield significant power.
Principal Government Officials
President and Commander in Chief--Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Vice President--Gilbert Bukenya
Prime Minister--Apollo Nsibambi
Foreign Minister--Sam Kutesa
Minister of Defense--Crispus Kiyonga
Ambassador to the United States--Perezi K. Kamunanwire
Uganda maintains an embassy in the United States at 5909 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011 (tel. 202-726-7100).
Since assuming power, Museveni and his government have largely put an end to the gross human rights abuses of earlier governments, initiated substantial economic liberalization and general press freedom, and instituted economic reforms in accord with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and donor governments.
The vicious and cult-like Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which seeks to overthrow the Ugandan Government, killed tens of thousands of people in northern Uganda from 1986 to 2006, abducted thousands of children to serve as soldiers and slaves, and displaced approximately 1.8 million Ugandans. Human rights abuses committed by the LRA include murder, mutilation, abduction of young women for sexual servitude, and kidnapping of children to become rebel fighters.
In 2005, the Ugandan military pushed the LRA out of northern Uganda. The LRA escaped to and continued to operate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), as well as in Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Under military pressure, the LRA rebels requested peace talks, which Government of Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar mediated and which after 2.5 years resulted in a Final Peace Agreement (FPA) in April 2008. However, LRA leader Joseph Kony ultimately refused to sign the FPA and continued to commit atrocities against local populations in D.R.C., Southern Sudan, and C.A.R. In December 2008, the Governments of Uganda, D.R.C., and Southern Sudan launched a joint military operation against the LRA in northeastern D.R.C. This operation is ongoing as of 2011 and extends across LRA-affected areas in D.R.C., C.A.R., and Southern Sudan.
There have been no LRA attacks in northern Uganda since August 2006. As a result, the vast majority of the 1.8 million former internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to or near their homes. Assistance from the Government of Uganda through its Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) and from international donors has helped communities in northern Uganda rebuild and recover from the 20-year humanitarian catastrophe caused by the LRA.
Uganda's constitution provides for freedom of speech, religion, and movement, and press and civil society enjoy relative freedom in Uganda. However, the government occasionally limits these freedoms. In September 2009, the government blocked the Prime Minister of the Buganda Kingdom from visiting the District of Kayunga north of Kampala. This restriction on a senior Buganda official’s freedom of movement, together with incorrect reports of the Prime Minister’s arrest, sparked 3 days of riots in Kampala that left at least 40 people dead and many more injured. The government also occasionally uses charges of unlawful assembly, inciting violence, and promoting sectarianism to curtail government critics’ freedom of speech and assembly.
Constitution: Ratified July 12, 1995; promulgated October 8, 1995.
Independence: October 9, 1962.
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--parliament. Judicial--Magistrate's Court, High Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 80 districts.
Political parties: In 2006, approximately 33 parties were allowed to function, including political parties that existed in 1986, when the National Resistance Movement assumed power.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
National holiday: Independence Day, October 9.
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