The Republic of Uganda


Uganda is a country in Eastern Africa that borders South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Total area – 241, 038 km2.

Population: 34,9 million people (2014 census). Ethnicity (around 130 peoples): 

Capital: Kampala (1,5 million people). The largest cities are Mbarara, Jinja, Mbale, Entebbe. There are 76 districts, which form 4 regions – the Western, Northern, Eastern and Central.

Religion: Catholics- 41,9%, protestants – 42% (Anglicans – 35,9%, Pentecostals from the Assembly of God and the Church of God - 4.6%, Adventists - 1.5%), Muslims - 12.1%, others beliefs - 3.1%, atheists - 0.9%.

The official languages are English and Swahili (since 2005). At the same time, the Luganda and Luo languages are used throughout the country. Luo is mostly spoken in the North.

Currency: the Ugandan shilling (UGX). Exchange rate is USD 1 = UGX 3600 (as of January 2018).

National holiday: Independence Day, which is celebrated on the 9th of October.

Historical Background: Uganda has been a British protectorate since the end of the 19th century and gained its independence in 1962. There have been a number of military coups in the country since 1971 and in 1986 the National Resistance Movement lead by Yoweri Museveni came into power.

The current Constitution was adopted in October of 1995 and several significant amendments were introduced to it in 2005. 

State structure: Uganda is a unitary state.

The president is the head of State, executive branch of power, as well as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He is elected for a 5-year term and is responsible for appointing the cabinet’s administration. Yoweri Museveni was reelected for the 4th time in February of 2011. Uganda’s Vice President is Edward Ssekandi and the Prime Minister is Ruhakana Rugunda.

The supreme legislative body: Unicameral national Assembly or Parliament which consists of 377 deputies, 238 of which are elected by popular vote. 112 women parliamentarians are elected by direct vote in the districts, interest groups nominate 25, 10 are from the army, the disabled, the youth and the trade unions each nominate another 5 each. Additional members may be appointed by the President or may be mandated depending on their position in the government. Rebecca Kadaga is the Speaker of the Parliament and Jacob Oulanyah is the Deputy Speaker.

Political Parties: There are about 40 officially registered political parties and associations in Uganda. The National Resistance Movement headed by Y. Museveni holds the lead. Then come the following, based on the degree to which they influence society: Forum for Democratic Change (Mugisha Muntu), Uganda People’s Congress (Olara Ottunu), Democratic Party (Norbert Mao), Justice Forum (Asuman Basalirwa), Conservative Party (Ken Lukyamuzi), People’s Progressive Party (Bidandi Ssali).

Internal political situation: The Ugandan authorities have everything under control. The Lord’s Resistance Army, which had been a terror to the peaceful citizens of northern Uganda for 20 years, has been dealt with and its remains have been shifted to the east of the DRC and near the borders of the CAR and South Sudan. These states, along with the US aid Ugandan armed units in continuing their pursuit and prosecution of the rebel group. 

In accordance with the new constitution of Uganda, which was adopted in October of 1995, presidential elections were held in May of 1996. Museveni was reelected as the head of State. He was reelected again in 2001 and 2006. A multi-party system was introduced; amendments were made to the Constitution, allowing for the re-election of the head of state without any restrictions and consolidating the elements of federalism in the state structure in the second half of 2005, following the results of a referendum. The following presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Uganda on February 18, 2011. Once again Museveni won with 68% of the votes, while his party enjoyed a parliamentary majority of 73% of the mandates.

Armed forces: The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), which consists of about 70 thousand people, is one of the largest in the region. The UPDF was reorganized in 2005, separating the air force, land forces and artillery. There is no obligatory conscription and the army is formed on a contract basis. Army General K.Vamala is the Commander of the Armed Forces. There are also local defense detachments (around 20 thousand people). Expenditure on defense and security amounts to 1,62% GDP. Ugandan soldiers are the backbone of the AMISOM mission in Somali, participate in operations aimed at capturing Joseph Kony in the CAR and provide support to the government of South Sudan against the opposition. General Kale Kayihura is the chief of the Ugandan Police. The manpower amounts to about 40 thousand people.

Social and economic situation: Uganda’s national economy is steadily developing despite the consequences of the world financial crisis. GDP reached USD 22,6 billion in 2014. There was a stable growth rate in areas such as trade, construction, and telecommunications. Oil production is to be launched in the western part of the country in 2022. Confirmed oil reserves amount to 3,7 billion barrels and explored – up to 8 billion barrels. This will significantly improve the current situation in the energy sector and permit to begin the export of oil products, rather than their import.

The basis for the economy is agriculture and 82% of the population is employed in this sector. The agricultural sector (coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, flowers, fruits and vegetables, fish, etc.) makes up 22,8% of the GDP.

The industrial sector (27,1% of GDP) is mostly represented by small and medium-sized enterprises involved in processing raw materials and the manufacture of textile and construction materials. 

The service sector makes up for 50,1% of GDP.

Budget.  Budget revenues are USD 2,9 billion, whilst expenditures are USD 3,6 billion.

Exchange rate reserves of USD 2,7 billion provide import substitution for as long as 5 months. The inflation rate is 5,5%.

Foreign debt is USD 3,8 billion.

Foreign trade turnover. In 2013 export revenue amounted to USD 3,2 billion. Import volume was USD 4,9 billion (oil products, machinery and equipment, cars and spare parts, pharmaceutical products, agricultural fertilizers). Coffee, tea, fish, cotton, flowers and horticultural products make up most of the export.

Leading consumers of Ugandan products in 2014: South Sudan - 17%, Kenya - 11.6%; Rwanda - 9.7%; United Arab Emirates - 9%; DRC - 8.8%; The Netherlands - 7%; Germany - 6.7%, Belgium - 4.6%, Italy - 4.3%.

Leading exporters to Uganda: Kenya - 14.9%; UAE - 14%; India -11.1%; PRC - 9.3%; South Africa - 5.6%; Japan - 4.4%. 

Uganda is rich in minerals. Besides oil deposits, there are deposits of copper, gold, tin, magnetite, columbite-tantalum and chrome ores, tungsten, niobium, zirconium, beryllium and construction materials, as well as apatite reserves (the largest in eastern Africa). There is a considerable hydropower capacity and the necessary raw material for the development of atomic energy.