2014 saw increased macroeconomic stability and a mild recovery of economic activity in Uganda, a presidential republic. Real GDP growth reached 4.5%, which was significantly weaker than expected, mainly due to under-execution of externally financed public investment, as well as depressed exports due to stalling demand from trading partners. Nevertheless, growth prospects are expected to improve owing to the Government’s resolve to improve fiscal space through domestic revenue mobilisation, scaled-up public investment, and a recovery in private demand as households and businesses start accessing credit from banks.
Although poverty has generally declined, rural areas continue to have the highest concentration of poverty. Development in Uganda has been consistently skewed towards the Central and Western regions, while the rest of the country lags behind. Regional economic disparities arise mostly from an uneven distribution of socio-economic infrastructure such as road networks, access to markets and social services.
Uganda’s economy comprises agricultural (25%), industrial (28.7%) and service (46.3%) sectors. The principal agricultural sub-sectors are fisheries, animal husbandry, dairy and crops.
Since the late 1980s, with the introduction of democratic reforms and substantial improvements in human rights, Uganda has rebounded from a civil war and economic catastrophe to become a relatively peaceful, stable and prosperous country. Western-backed economic reforms produced solid growth and falls in inflation in the 1990s, while the discovery of oil and gas in the west of the country boosted confidence. The global economic turndown of 2008 hit Uganda hard, given its continuing dependence on coffee exports, and pushed up food prices.
Until 2006, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in northern Uganda were blighted by one of Africa’s most brutal rebellions. The cult-like Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, caused the displacement of nearly two million people in the region. However, since the LRA was forced out of the country, the area has undergone a positive transformation.
The national currency is the Ugandan Shilling (26 Sept. 2015: USD 1 = UGX 3,660, EUR 1 = UGX 4,097).