Despite reducing national poverty rates over the last decade, Uganda remains very poor and inequality is growing. 63% of Uganda’s 35 million people are either poor or at risk of falling back into poverty due to dependence on subsistence agriculture. Half the population is under 15 years old (the world average is 27%) and women have on average 5.4 children. High population growth rates have a negative impact on economic growth and create challenges for education and health services. Over 700,000 young people enter the labour market each year with few job opportunities.

Uganda hosts over one million refugees, predominately from South Sudan, and is the third largest refugee hosting nation in the world. This number is expected to continue to increase. Refugees are unlikely to return home in the near future because of conflict and political instability.

According to the African Development Bank economic performance generally remained strong despite the recent slowdown in real GDP growth, which is projected to reach 5.9% in 2018, up from 4.8% in 2017 and 2.3% in 2016. The increase in economic growth in 2018  is expected to be driven mainly by public infrastructure investment; recovery in manufacturing and construction; and improvements in the services sector, particularly financial and banking, trade, transport, and information and communication technology services.

DFID Uganda Strategy

Economic development: UK support has led to a 60% reduction in the time taken to provide goods to the East African market serving over 200 million people. DFID will continue to reduce transport times by a further 20%, unlock opportunities for the UK and other businesses to bid for US$24 billion of public private partnerships projects; and support increased incomes for 331,000 people. This will help Uganda create jobs for its people.

Women and girls: The UK will focus on strengthening health and education systems nationally in order to help manage Uganda’s population growth rate. The UK is also helping to bring positive social change by increasing choices for women and girls, tackling violence against women and girls and managing high birth rates. Over the next five years the UK will support over 375,000 women and girls with modern methods of family planning; and help over 200,000 women and girls receive an education. Young people and the disabled, often marginalised because of cultural and structural barriers, are at the core of UK’s work.

Humanitarian: In 2016, the UK provided food for 650,000 people, vaccinated 235,000 children, provided healthcare for 181,000, distributed non-food items to 64,000 and improved access to clean water for 81,000 people. In 2017, the UK will: provide food for 125,000 people; support 20,000 women and 40,000 under-fives with immunisation and food supplements; ensure 15,000 children access education services; provide clean water for 170,000 people; safely relocate 200,000 people from the border and open settlement sites; and provide relief equipment to 150,000 people.  The UK is also challenging UN agencies to reform and ensure they deliver effectively for the world’s most vulnerable.

World Bank Doing Business

Uganda has a rank of 122 in the World Bank doing business survey 2018, behind neighbouring countries Rwanda and Kenya, but the distance to frontier score of 59.94 is well ahead of the sub Saharan Africa average (50.43).  This score was very little changed from 2017.  Only one reform was listed for the past year:

Trading across BordersUganda reduced the time for export documentary compliance and border compliance by allowing for electronic document submission and processing of certificates of origin and by further developing the Malaba One-Stop Border Post.