The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. These differences complicated the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. The rule of Yoweri MUSEVENI since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. A constitutional referendum in 2005 cancelled a 19-year ban on multi-party politics and lifted presidential term limits.
Location: East-Central Africa, west of Kenya, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Border Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 877 km, Kenya 814 km, Rwanda 172 km, South Sudan 475 km, Tanzania 391 km
Total Area: 241,038 sq km Land: 197,100 sq km Water: 43,938 sq km
Climate: Tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in northeast
Terrain: Mostly plateau with rim of mountains
Natural resources: Copper, cobalt, hydropower, limestone, salt, arable land, gold
Land use: Agricultural land: 71.2% arable land 34.3%; permanent crops 11.3%; permanent pasture 25.6% Forest: 14.5% Other: 14.3% (2011 est.)
Ethnic groups: Baganda 16.5%, Banyankole 9.6%, Basoga 8.8%, Bakiga 7.1%, Iteso 7%, Langi 6.3%, Bagisu 4.9%, Acholi 4.4%, Lugbara 3.3%, Other 32.1% (2014 est.)
Languages: English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Religions: Protestant 45.1% (Anglican 32.0%, Pentecostal/Born Again/Evangelical 11.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.7%, Baptist .3%), Roman Catholic 39.3%, Muslim 13.7%, Other 1.6%, None 0.2% (2014 est.)
Literacy: 78.4%; Male: 85.3%; Female: 71.5% (2015 est.)
Administrative divisions: 111 districts and 1 capital city*; Abim, Adjumani, Agago, Alebtong, Amolatar, Amudat, Amuria, Amuru, Apac, Arua, Budaka, Bududa, Bugiri, Buhweju, Buikwe, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bukwa, Bulambuli, Buliisa, Bundibugyo, Bushenyi, Busia, Butaleja, Butambala, Buvuma, Buyende, Dokolo, Gomba, Gulu, Hoima, Ibanda, Iganga, Isingiro, Jinja, Kaabong, Kabale, Kabarole, Kaberamaido, Kalangala, Kaliro, Kalungu, Kampala*, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Kanungu, Kapchorwa, Kasese, Katakwi, Kayunga, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kiryandongo, Kisoro, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Kotido, Kumi, Kween, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Lamwo, Lira, Luuka, Luwero, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Manafwa, Maracha, Masaka, Masindi, Mayuge, Mbale, Mbarara, Mitooma, Mityana, Moroto, Moyo, Mpigi, Mubende, Mukono, Nakapiripirit, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namayingo, Namutumba, Napak, Nebbi, Ngora, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Nwoya, Otuke, Oyam, Pader, Pallisa, Rakai, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, Sembabule, Serere, Sheema, Sironko, Soroti, Tororo, Wakiso, Yumbe, Zombo; note - four new districts, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro, and Rubanda, have been reported, but not yet vetted by the US Board on Geographic Names
Economy: Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils; regular rainfall; substantial reserves of recoverable oil; and small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy, employing 72% of the work force. The country’s export market, which suffered a major slump following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, has lately recovered, largely due to record coffee harvests, which account for 16% of exports, and increasing gold exports, which now account for 10% of exports. Uganda has a small industrial sector that is dependent on imported inputs such as refined oil and heavy equipment. Overall productivity is hampered by a number of supply-side constraints, including insufficient infrastructure; lack of modern technology in agriculture; and corruption. Uganda’s economic growth has slowed since 2016 as government spending and public debt has grown. Uganda’s budget is dominated by energy and road infrastructure spending, while Uganda relies on donor support for long-term drivers of growth, including agriculture, health, and education. The largest infrastructure projects are externally financed through concessional loans, but at inflated costs. As a result, debt servicing for these loans is expected to rise. Oil revenues and taxes are expected to become a larger source of government funding as oil production starts in the next three – to 10 years. Over the next three-to-five years, foreign investors are planning to invest $9 billion in production facilities projects, $4 billion in an export pipeline, as well as in a $2-3 billion refinery to produce petroleum products for the domestic and East African Community (EAC) markets. Furthermore, the government is looking to build several hundred million dollars’ worth of highway projects to the oil region. Uganda faces many economic challenges. Instability in South Sudan has led to a sharp increase in Sudanese refugees and is disrupting Uganda's main export market. Additional economic risks include: poor economic management, endemic corruption, and the government’s failure to invest adequately in the health, education, and economic opportunities for a burgeoning young population. Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa - only 22% of Ugandans have access to electricity, dropping to 10% in rural areas.
Agriculture - products: Coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), potatoes, corn, millet, pulses, cut flowers; beef, goat meat, milk, poultry, and fish
Industries: Sugar, brewing, tobacco, cotton textiles; cement, steel production