Uganda Economy

Uganda Society and Economy

Social development


The medical centers include a hygiene school, a preventive medicine department, a disease control unit, and several rural health centers. Certain diseases are widespread, including malaria, intestinal disorders, venereal infections, and hookworm.

Health services were affected by the departure of foreign personnel in 1972. In 1981, as a country located in Africa according to EBIZDIR, Uganda had one doctor for every 22,291 residents, compared to the figure in 1960, when there was one doctor for every 15,050 residents. In 1990 there were 655 doctors working in the country (one for every 26,859 residents) and 485 hospitals were operating, with 19,650 beds (one for every 895 residents). That same year, life expectancy was 49 years for men and 51 for women, while infant mortality was 99 per thousand live births, a very high figure, despite the daily consumption of 2,483 calories per person (relatively satisfactory for African indices).

During the 1980s, AIDS (or ‘Slim’ as it is known in Uganda) began to spread in the country at alarming rates. In April of 1991, the Program for Control of AIDS estimated that over one million Ugandans were carriers of the virus, with some areas, such as around Kampala, where half of the adult population was affected by this evil. It was estimated that in 2010 more than half of the population expected by then will have died of AIDS.

There is a social security system to which salaried workers contribute and which grants pensions to public servants. Massive migrations to the cities have caused a great housing shortage, which the National Housing Corporation tries to alleviate through housing programs for workers with different types of income.


In 1986, 57% of boys and 50% of girls attended primary school. In 1987 there were 200,000 students in secondary schools and 6,300 students at Makerere University, Kampala. There is also an Islamic university in Mbale and a science and technology university in Mbarara. The percentage of literacy was, in 1990, 57% of the adult population.


In 1987 there were approximately 1,600,000 radio receivers and 105,000 television sets in use in Uganda. State-run Radio Uganda broadcasts in 22 languages, including English, French, Arabic, Swahili and vernacular. The only television station at that time, Uganda Television Service, also a governmental one, had six repeater stations.

Capital and most important cities

Kampala: Capital and main city of Uganda, it is located north of Lake Victoria, in the south of the country. Rising on hills (1,190 m high), it was the headquarters of the headquarters of the British Imperial East Africa Company in 1890. The city has very striking buildings, such as the seat of Parliament, commercial and industrial arteries and residential areas.

Heart of the rich agricultural area, Kampala exports coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco and sugar. Second industrial city (after Jinja), the capital is home to a number of food and metal products factories. Home to Uganda’s leading commercial firms and the largest market in the Lake Victoria region, Kampala is home to Makerere University, a technical institute and the Uganda Museum.

Religious nucleus, the city has numerous religious buildings. Kampala, a vital hub in the national transport network, has a railway to Mombasa, Kenya; from Bell Harbor, on Lake Victoria (10 km) and Entebbe International Airport (34 km).

Jinja: Uganda’s second largest city (at 1,140 m elevation), is next to Lake Victoria, where the Nile rises. In 1957, the construction of the Owen Falls Dam, 5 km away, made Jinja the main industrial center from Uganda. Its factories include the largeststeel mill inEast Africa,Kilembe Copper smelters, a grain conditioning plant, sugar plantations and tobacco, plywood, beer and textile manufactures. Products are transported by steam, across the lake, as well as by rail and road.

Mbale: Located on the western slope of Mount Elgon volcanoin southeastern Uganda, it is the agricultural and commercial center of a fertile coffee zone, where cotton, bananas, vegetables and grainsare also grown. It is the terminus of the route to Kitale, Kenya, with landscapes of unique beauty.


  • Uganda is not a good country for those who are frightened by storms and are overwhelmed by the roars of thunder. In Tororo, Uganda, an average of storms of no less than 251 days a year was recorded over a period of ten years.
  • In the country you can find a large quantity of foods that often serve as seasonings: cereals, tubers, plantains, legumes and vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, fruits, termites, fish, wild birds and other animals. The use of peanuts is relatively recent and they are appreciated thanks to their easy preparation and commercial value

Economic development

Agriculture contributed 76% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1990 and employed 90% of the active population. The main crops consist of coffee, cotton, tea, and corn. Tobacco, sugar cane, cocoa and horticultural products are also grown. From 1980 to 1987, agricultural production decreased at a rate of 0.5% per year.

Industry (including mining, manufacturing, construction, and electricity), contributed 6% of GDP in 1990. In the period from 1980 to 1987, the sector increased at the rate of 1.4% per year. Mining contributed less than 0.1% to GDP in 1983. Copper production, previously significant, ceased in 1979, although attempts were made to relaunch it. Limestone is mined, and there are reserves of magnetite, tin, tungsten, beryllium, gold, bismuth, and tantalite.

Manufacturing contributed 4% of GDP in 1983. The main activity of the sector consisted of the processing of agricultural products and beer, vehicle assembly, textiles, cement, soap, fertilizers, metal parts, shoes, paints, matches and batteries.. Electricity is obtained mainly from hydroelectric power.

The equivalent of 20% of the income of foreign currency in mineral fuels is imported. The main sources of imports are Kenya and Tanzania, while Great Britain is the largest market for exports, as well as the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, India, the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy. Uganda is a member of the African Development Bank and the Preferential Trade Zone for Eastern and Southern African States.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the to sustain the national currency (through successive devaluations), curb public spending, stimulate foreign and private investment in the industrial sector, diversify exports and substitute imports, privatize many state-owned companies and rehabilitate the network of transport.

In 1986 there were 1,286 km of railroad tracks, although they were in quite poor condition and they began to be repaired that same year, at a cost of 150 million dollars. In 1985 there were 28,332 km of roads, however only 22% were paved. In 1987 the World Bank invested $ 32.6 million; by 1988, 1,850 km of asphalt roads and 2,400 km of gravel roads had been repaired. Since 1983 a ferry connects Jinja with Tanga (Tanzania), via Muanza.

In 1986 Uganda and Kenya began operating the Lake Victoria marine services jointly, transporting goods by ferry between the two countries. Uganda’s international airport (Entebbe, Lake Victoria, 40 km from Kampala) handled 53,345 tons of goods in 1987.

Uganda attracts tourists for its nature reserves, lakes and wildlife. Since 1980, hotels have been built and new national parks have been created. In 1986 35,000 tourists visited Uganda, double the number in 1983 (12,786).

Uganda Economy