Area: 241,040 sq. km. (93,070 sq. mi.); about the size of Oregon.
Cities: Capital--Kampala (1991 pop. 774,214). Other cities--Jinja,
Terrain: 18% inland water and swamp; 12% national parks, forest,
and game reserves;
70% forest, woodland, grassland.
Climate: In the northeast, semi-arid--rainfall less than 50 cm.
(20 in.); in
southwest, rainfall 130 cm. (50 in.) or more. Two dry seasons: Dec.-Feb.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Ugandan(s).
Population (1995): 19 million.
Annual growth rate (1994): 2.9%.
Ethnic groups: African 99%, European, Asian, Arab 1%.
Religions: Christian 66%, Muslim 16%, traditional and other 18%.
Languages: English (official); Luganda and Swahili widely used;
other Bantu and
Education: Attendance (1995, primary school enrollment, public and
Health: Infant mortality rate--81/1,000. Life expectancy--37 yrs.
Type: No-party "Movement" system.
Constitution: The new Constitution was ratified on July 12, 1995,
on October 8, 1995. Uganda held its first presidential election under the
Constitution on May 9, 1996, followed by parliamentary elections on June
27, 1996. The
Constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every
five years, but with
significant requirements for parliamentary approval of presidential
Independence: October 9, 1962.
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, prime minister,
Legislative--parliament. There are 214 directly elected representatives
indirectly elected seats for representatives of women 39, youth 5,
workers 3, disabled 5,
and the army 10. Judiciary -- magistrates courts, High Court, Court
Administrative subdivisions: 45 districts (6 recently authorized).
Political parties (political party activity is largely suspended):
Congress (UPC), Democratic Party (DP), Conservative Party (CP).
Suffrage: Universal adult.
National holiday: Independence Day, Oct. 9.
Flag: Six horizontal stripes--black, yellow, red, black, yellow,
red with the
national emblem, the crested crane, in a centered white circle.
GDP (1994): $5.155 billion.
Inflation rate (December 1996): Approx. 4.4%.
Natural resources: Copper, cobalt, limestone.
Agriculture: Cash crops--coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, sugarcane,
vanilla. Food crops--bananas, corn, cassava, potatoes, millet, pulses
self-sufficient in food). Livestock and fisheries--beef, goat meat, milk,
Industry: Types--processing of agricultural products (cotton
curing), cement production, light consumer goods, textiles.
Trade (1995-96): Exports--$624.5 million: coffee, cotton, tobacco,
market--EU. Imports (1994-95)--$1.193 billion: petroleum products,
textiles, metals, transportation equipment. Major suppliers--OPEC
Exchange rate (March 1998): Uganda shillings 1,155=US $1.
Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.
Africans of three main ethnic groups--Bantu, Nilotic, and Nilo-Hamitic
of the population. The Bantu are the most numerous and include the
Baganda, which, with
about 3 million members (18% of the population), constitute the largest
The people of the southwest comprise 30% of the population, divided
into five major
ethnic groups: the Banyankole and Bahima,10%; the Bakiga, 8%; the
Banyarwanda, 6%; the
Bunyoro, 3%; and the Batoro, 3%). Residents of the north, largely
Nilotic, are the next
largest group, including the Langi, 6% and the Acholi, 4%. In the
northwest are the
Lugbara, 4%, and the Karamojong, 2% occupy the considerably drier,
territory in the northeast. Europeans, Asians, and Arabs make up about 1%
population with other groups accounting for the remainder. Uganda's
predominately rural, and its density is highest in the southern regions.
Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest nonindigenous ethnic group
in Uganda. In
that year, the Idi Amin regime expelled 50,000 Asians, who had been
engaged in trade,
industry, and various professions. In the years since Amin's overthrow in
have slowly returned. About 3,000 Arabs of various national origins and
small numbers of
Asians live in Uganda. Other nonindigenous people in Uganda include
Western missionaries and a few diplomats and business people.
When Arab traders moved inland from their enclaves along the Indian
Ocean coast of East
Africa and reached the interior of Uganda in the 1830s, they found
kingdoms with well-developed political institutions dating back several
traders were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the
source of the
Nile River. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed
missionaries in 1879.
In 1888, control of the emerging British "sphere of
interest" in East Africa
was assigned by royal charter to the Imperial British East Africa
Company, an arrangement
strengthened in 1890 by an Anglo-German agreement confirming British
dominance over Kenya
and Uganda. The high cost of occupying the territory caused the company
to withdraw in
1893, and its administrative functions were taken over by a British
commissioner. In 1894,
the Kingdom of Buganda was placed under a formal British protectorate.
Britain granted internal self-government to Uganda in 1961, with the
held on March 1, 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party became
the first Chief
Minister. Uganda maintained its Commonwealth membership.
In succeeding years, supporters of a centralized state vied with those
in favor of a
loose federation and a strong role for tribally based local kingdoms.
maneuvering climaxed in February 1966, when Prime Minister Milton Obote
constitution, assumed all government powers, and removed the president
and vice president.
In September 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic, gave
even greater powers, and abolished the traditional kingdoms. On January
25, 1971, Obote's
government was ousted in a military coup led by armed forces commander
Idi Amin Dada. Amin
declared himself president, dissolved the parliament, and amended the
constitution to give
himself absolute power.
Idi Amin's 8-year rule produced economic decline, social
disintegration, and massive
human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi tribes were particular
objects of Amin's
political persecution because Obote and many of his supporters belonged
to those tribes
and constituted the largest group in the army. In 1978, the International
Jurists estimated that more than 100,000 Ugandans had been murdered
during Amin's reign of
terror; some authorities place the figure much higher.
In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces repulsed an incursion of
Amin's troops into
Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian force, backed by Ugandan exiles, waged
a war of
liberation against Amin's troops and Libyan soldiers sent to help him. On
April 11, 1979,
Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining forces.
After Amin's removal, the Uganda National Liberation Front formed an
with Yusuf Lule as president. This government adopted a ministerial
administration and created a quasi-parliamentary organ known as the
Commission (NCC). The NCC and the Lule cabinet reflected widely differing
In June 1979, following a dispute over the extent of presidential powers,
the NCC replaced
President Lule with Godfrey Binaisa. In a continuing dispute over the
powers of the
interim presidency, Binaisa was removed in May 1980. Thereafter, Uganda
was ruled by a
military commission chaired by Paulo Muwanga. The December 1980 elections
returned the UPC
to power under the leadership of President Obote, with Muwanga serving as
Under Obote, the security forces had one of the world's worst human
rights records. In
their efforts to stamp out an insurgency led by Yoweri Museveni's
National Resistance Army
(NRA), they lay waste to a substantial section of the country, especially
in the Luwero
area north of Kampala.
Obote ruled until July 27, 1985, when an army brigade, composed mostly
of Acholi troops
and commanded by Lt. Gen. Basilio Olara-Okello, took Kampala and
proclaimed a military
government. Obote fled to exile in Zambia. The new regime, headed by
former defense force
commander Gen. Tito Okello (no relation to Lt. Gen. Olara-Okello), opened
with the insurgent forces of Yoweri Museveni and pledged to improve
respect for human
rights, end tribal rivalry, and conduct free and fair elections. In the
human rights violations continued as the Okello government murdered
civilians and ravaged
the countryside in order to destroy the NRA's support.
Negotiations between the Okello government and the NRA were conducted
in Nairobi in the
fall of 1985, with Kenyan President Daniel Moi seeking a cease-fire and a
government in Uganda. Although agreeing in late 1985 to a cease-fire, the
fighting, seized Kampala in late January 1986, and assumed control of the
Okello to flee north into Sudan. Museveni's forces organized a government
with Museveni as
Since assuming power, the government dominated by the political
grouping created by
Museveni and his followers, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), has
largely put an end
to the human rights abuses of earlier governments, overseen the
successful efforts of a
human rights commission established to investigate previous abuses,
political liberalization and general press freedom, and instituted broad
after consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World
Bank, and donor
governments. A constitutional commission was named to draft a new
constitution, which was
debated and ratified by a popularly elected constituent assembly on July
12, 1995 and
promulgated by President Museveni on October 8, 1995.
Under the transitional provisions of the new constitution, the
system" will continue for five years, including explicit
restrictions on activities
of political parties, which are nonetheless active. The Constitution also
calls for a
referendum in the fourth year (the year 2000) to determine whether or not
adopt a multi-party system of democracy.
Insurgent groups, the largest of which--the Lord's Resistance
from Sudan--harass government forces and murder and kidnap civilians in
the north and
west. They do not, however, threaten the stability of the government. Due
support of various guerrilla movements, Uganda severed diplomatic
relations with Sudan on
April 22, 1995, and contacts between the Government of Uganda and the
Front-dominated Government of Sudan remain limited.
The executive consists of officials who predominantly espouse movement
Yoweri Museveni is the President and Minister of Defense, Dr. Specioza
Wandira Kazibwe is
the Vice President, and Kintu Musoke is the Prime Minister. The Minister
Affairs is Eriya Kategaya.
Legislative responsibility is vested in the 276-person parliament,
whose members were
elected in June 1996. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent
government and consists of magistrates courts, the high court, the court
of appeals (which
also hears constitutional cases as the "constitutional court")
and the Supreme
Principal Government Officials
President and Minister of Defense--Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Vice President--Dr. (Mrs.) Specioza W. Kazibwe
Prime Minister--Kintu Musoke
Foreign Minister--Eriya Kategaya
Ambassador to the United States--Edith G. Ssempala
Uganda maintains an embassy in the United States at 5909 16th Street
NW, Washington, DC
20011 (tel. 202-726-7100).
Uganda's economy has great potential. Endowed with significant natural
including ample fertile land, regular rainfall, and mineral deposits, it
for rapid economic growth and development at independence. Yet, chronic
instability and erratic economic management produced a record of
decline that left Uganda among the world's poorest and least-developed
After the turmoil of the Amin era, the country began a program of
economic recovery in
1981 that received considerable foreign assistance. From mid-1984 on,
expansionist fiscal and monetary policies and the renewed outbreak of
civil strife led to
a setback in economic performance.
Since assuming power in early 1986, the government of President
Museveni has taken
important steps toward economic rehabilitation. The country's
transportation and communications systems which were destroyed by war and
being rebuilt. Recognizing the need for increased external support,
Uganda negotiated a
policy framework paper with the IMF and the World Bank in 1987. It
implementing economic policies designed to restore price stability and
of payments, improve capacity utilization, rehabilitate infrastructure,
incentives through proper price policies, and improve resource
mobilization and allocation
in the public sector. By 1990, these policies were beginning to produce
Inflation, which ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, was 3.4% in
1994/95 and 5.4%
for fiscal year 1995/96.
Investment as a percentage of GDP is estimated at 18.3% in 1995/96
compared to 17.9% in
1994/95. Private sector investment, largely financed by private transfers
from abroad, was
12.3% of GDP in 1995/96. Gross National Savings as a percentage of GDP
was estimated at
20.9% in 1995/96. The Ugandan Government also has worked with donor
reschedule or cancel substantial portions of the country's external
Agricultural products supply nearly all of Uganda's foreign exchange
coffee alone (of which Uganda is Africa's leading producer) accounting
for about 65% of
the country's exports in 1995/96. Exports of hides, skins, vegetables,
flowers, and fish are growing, and cotton, tea, and tobacco continue to
Most industry is related to agriculture. The industrial sector is
to resume production of building and construction materials, such as
rods, corrugated roofing sheets, and paint. Domestically produced
consumer goods include
plastics, soap, cork, beer, and soft drinks.
Uganda has about 30,000 kilometers (18,750 mi.), of roads; some 2,800
mi.) are paved. Most radiate from Kampala. The country has about 1,350
mi.) of rail lines. A railroad originating at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean
Tororo, where it branches westward to Jinja, Kampala, and Kasese and
northward to Mbale,
Soroti, Lira, Gulu, and Kapwach. Uganda's important road and rail links
to Mombasa serve
its transport needs and
also those of its neighbors--Rwanda, Burundi, and parts of Zaire and
international airport is at Entebbe on the shore of Lake Victoria, some
32 kilometers (20
mi.) south of Kampala.
U.S.-Ugandan relations were strained and ultimately all but broken
during Idi Amin's
rule. In 1973, persistent security problems and increasingly difficult
circumstances forced withdrawal of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers and the
bilateral U.S. economic assistance. In November 1973, after repeated
against U.S. embassy officials and after the expulsion of Marine security
responsible for protecting U.S. Government property and personnel, the
embassy was closed.
In 1978, Congress legislated an embargo of all U.S trade with Uganda.
Relations improved after Amin's fall. In mid-1979, the United States
embassy in Kampala. Relations with successor governments were cordial,
although Obote and
his administration rejected strong U.S. criticism of Uganda's human
Bilateral relations between the United States and Uganda have been good
assumed power, and the United States has welcomed his efforts to end
human rights abuses
and to pursue economic reform. At the same time, the United States
remains concerned about
continuing human rights problems and the pace of progress toward the
In the early-to mid-1980s, the United States provided about $10
million in assistance
to Uganda annually, mostly in the form of humanitarian aid (food, medical
hospital rehabilitation, and disaster relief) and agricultural equipment
needed to promote
economic recovery in the food and cash crop sectors of Uganda's rural
economy. The U.S.
Agency for International Development currently is funding a multifaceted
program at a level of about $50 million per year, both direct assistance
and Food for
The U.S. Information Agency has carried out a cultural exchange
program aiding the
National Theater and other cultural institutions, bringing Fulbright
professors to teach
at Makerere University, and sponsoring U.S. study and tour programs for
officials. U.S. Peace Corps maintains volunteers in the country working
enterprise development, natural resources management, and education.
Significant contributions to Ugandan health care, nutrition,
education, and park
systems from U.S. missionaries, non-governmental organizations, private
researchers, and wildlife organizations have brought long-term benefits
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador--Nancy J. Powell
Deputy Chief of Mission--Peter Michael McKinley
Public Affairs Officer--Virgil Bodeen
Director, USAID--Donald Clark
The U.S. embassy in Uganda is in the British High Commission Building
Avenue, Kampala (tel. 259792/3/5) (fax: 259-794).
For more information, visit the State Departments home page.