Located in East Africa, Uganda is a landlocked country bordered by Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, with a great share of the southern region occupied by Lake Victoria.
Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire from 1894 to 1962. Since its independence from Britain, Uganda has endured a military coup, followed by a brutal military dictatorship which ended in 1979, disputed elections in 1980 and a five-year war that brought current President Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986.
Uganda is a presidential republic, in which the President of Uganda is both head of state and head of government. There is a multi-party system, Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system with universal suffrage for all citizens aged 18 and over.
Today, Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people. In the north, the Lango and Acholi peoples predominate, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language.
Over the last decade, Uganda has achieved universal primary education and reduced national poverty rates however, Uganda remains very poor and inequality is growing. 63% of Uganda’s population live in poverty or are at risk of falling back into poverty and high population growth rates have a negative impact on economic growth and create challenges for education and health services.
Most industry in Uganda is related to agriculture with agricultural products supplying nearly all of Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings. Exports of apparel, hides, skins, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, and fish are growing, and coffee, tea and tobacco continue to be mainstays.
The number of people living in Uganda’s cities is rising, as young people move away from the countryside to seek work. Kampala has a population of 1.6 million and there are several major conurbations in the south, while Gulu is the largest centre in the north. With the improving economy, there is a growing middle class. This is reflected in the modern supermarkets and shopping malls which can be found in Kampala. However, there are still many jobless and impoverished people and it is a common sight to see children begging on the streets.
Most Ugandans lead a rural lifestyle; 87% of the population live in the countryside. Rural communities account for 94.4 % of the nation’s poor households and close to half (48%) of households in the two lowest income classes. Water is not evenly distributed in Uganda and rural communities have inadequate access to water compared to their urban counterparts, and are characterized by poor water infrastructure that constrains agricultural development.