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Uganda Country Background
The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. These differences prevented the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. The rule of Yoweri MUSEVENI since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. During the 1990s, the government promulgated non-party presidential and legislative elections.

Uganda is subject to armed fighting among hostile ethnic groups, rebels, armed gangs, militias, and various government forces; Ugandan refugees have fled the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) into the southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; LRA forces have attacked Kenyan villages across the border.

Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1986, the government - with the support of foreign countries and international agencies - has acted to rehabilitate and stabilize the economy by undertaking currency reform, raising producer prices on export crops, increasing prices of petroleum products, and improving civil service wages. The policy changes are especially aimed at dampening inflation and boosting production and export earnings. During 1990-2001, the economy turned in a solid performance based on continued investment in the rehabilitation of infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, reduced inflation, gradually improved domestic security, and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs. In 2000, Uganda qualified for enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. Growth for 2001-02 was solid despite continued decline in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export. Growth in 2003-05 reflected an upturn in Uganda's export markets.

head of government: President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI (since seizing power 29 January 1986); Prime Minister Apollo NSIBAMBI (since 5 April 1999); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; the prime minister assists the president in the supervision of the cabinet

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among elected legislators

elections: president reelected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 23 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011)

election results: Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI elected president; percent of vote - Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI 59.3%, Kizza BESIGYE 37.4%, other 3.3%

Unicameral National Assembly (303 members - 214 directly elected by popular vote, 81 nominated by legally established special interest groups [women 56, army 10, disabled 5, youth 5, labor 5], 8 ex officio members; members serve five-year terms)

elections: last held 23 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
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