Overview

  • Economic Overview

    Uganda’s economy has grown at a slower pace recently, thus reducing its impact on poverty. Average annual growth was 4.5% in the five years to FY16, compared to the 7% achieved during the 1990s and early 2000s. The slowdown was mainly driven by adverse weather, unrest in South Sudan, private sector credit constraints, and the poor execution of public projects. Amidst these external shocks, and as a reflection of an unrealized fiscal stimulus, growth slowed further to 3.5% in FY17.

    The economy may recover to above 5% in FY18, and to 6% in FY19, if weather conditions improve, FDI inflows accelerate, the banking system stabilizes, and budgeted, capital spending is executed without delays.  Meanwhile, low business confidence, the ongoing strife in South Sudan and its subduing of segments of exports, and high credit costs continue to weigh on private domestic investment. At the same time, private foreign investment (FDI) in the oil sector could help support the recovery of growth, following the issuance of exploration permits.

    The most critical risk to this outlook is regional instability, particularly in South Sudan and any election-related disturbances that take place in Kenya. Reliance on rain-fed agriculture remains a downside risk to real GDP growth, the poor’s income, as well as export earnings. The latter could be impacted by a flaring up of conflict in South Sudan, and any renewed refugee inflows that would add to the estimated 1 million South Sudanese already in the country. Meanwhile, further delays in the completion of a public investment program would prevent the productivity that could be gained from enhanced infrastructure, while an acceleration in domestic arrears would have an adverse impact on private investment and worsen the credit challenge.

    Political Context

    Following the end of the armed conflict in 1986, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) led by President Yoweri Museveni introduced a number of structural reforms and investments, most of which led to a sustained period of high growth and poverty reduction between 1987 and 2010. Similarly, Uganda has introduced ambitious public sector reforms in the past two decades. This has resulted in the creation of a robust formal governance system and has helped improve public sector management and institutional quality. Voice and accountability, which improved between 2003 and 2008, have since declined, however. Policy and legal frameworks continue to improve, notably through the Public Financial Management Act (2015), although gaps in implementation in procurement and anti-corruption remain. 

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

  • Development Challenges

    Uganda surpassed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target 1a of halving poverty by 2015, and made significant progress in reducing the proportion of the population that suffers from hunger, as well as in promoting gender equality and empowering women. According to the Uganda Poverty Assessment, the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day) fell from 62.2% in 2002/03 to 34.6% in 2012/13, representing one of the fastest reductions in poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Good weather and favorable prices in international and regional markets increased real income from crops, allowing agricultural households to account for up to 79% of the poverty reduction during this period. Other key contributing factors included urbanization and education.

    Notwithstanding this progress, the vulnerability to falling back into poverty is very high—for every three Ugandans who get out of poverty, two fall back in, demonstrating the fragile gains. Extreme poverty is concentrated in the north and east of the country, accounting for 84% of those living beneath the national poverty line.

    Crop deceases, droughts, and price fluctuations present risks to food security. In 2016, the country experienced an acute food shortage, with up to 1.6 million people food insecure and a further 9.3 million reported to be food stressed.

    Uganda is currently experiencing the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. The country has received an average of 1,800 South Sudanese refugees daily since July 2016, and with a total refugee population of more than 1.34 million, Uganda is currently the largest host of refugees in Africa and the third-largest in the world. A UN-backed Solidarity Summit held in June 2017 has raised about $350 million, but much more is needed to effectively support the refugees and the communities hosting them.

    World Bank Group Engagement

    The World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for the period 2015/16 to 2020/21 supports the Government of ganda’s vision of a society transformed from a peasant economy to a modern and prosperous country by 2040. The CPF was been prepared in close collaboration with the government, and is informed by consultations with civil society, private sector, academia, development partners, and the public. It recognizes the dynamic between rural and urban development where, in the short run, poverty reduction will come from rural areas. The focus in the medium term will shift towards urbanization and the creation of jobs for a rapidly growing labor force.

    The investment portfolio in Uganda is primarily financed from the International Development Association (IDA), which provides interest free “credits” and grants on concessional terms, attracting only an administrative service charge of 0.75% on the disbursed credit amount. Loan repayments are stretched over 38 years, including a six-year grace period.

    As of September 2017,the Bank’s portfolio stood at $2.6 billion (IDA credits and grants) in net commitment for national and regional operations. Around two thirds is supporting sustainable development, including 46% to infrastructure development (energy, roads, urban, and ICT), followed by agriculture (14%), and water (7%). Close to 30% is supporting human development (health 11%, education 9%, and social protection 7%); and the private sector and trade (5%). On May 19, the Bank reinstated the lending pipeline  after a 9-month temporary pause, followed in June with the lifting of the suspension of civil works for the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project and the North Eastern Road Corridor Asset Management Project. 

    A key element of the CPF is the strong emphasis on beneficiary feedback, and on working closely with the government, stakeholders, and partners. This ensures the WBG is in a strong position to contribute towards shared prosperity and reducing extreme poverty in Uganda. Questions are welcome and can be sent to ugandainfo@worldbank.org

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

  • Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP): The project supports land administration reform, and has piloted the mass titling of land in selected regions. Some 13 regional land offices have been established, which have enabled more people to register and title their land, increasing their security of tenure, and allowing landowners to use their land as an asset to access credit. The digitization of land ownership (more than 500,000 titles) has reduced the average time it takes to register it to 42 days, down from 227 days in 2007. Registration costs are down to $23 per land parcel from $200 each. Government revenue from land registration has risen by 308%, with monthly collections from land revenue quadrupling over three years—from $740,000 (2012/13) to $10.5 million (2016/17). Under the tourism component, 51 tour operators are now actively promoting Uganda as a tourist destination in the UK, up from 31 previously, while 20 are doing the same in the North American market.

    Uganda Support for Municipal Development Project (USMID): The 14 municipalities benefitting from the project have been supported to develop modern infrastructure, including roads and street furniture; solid waste management; and the development of markets and urban transport facilities. Local government officials in all 14 municipalities have also improved management and administration, including physical planning and urban development, own source revenue, and procurement and contract management. Computerized equipment for physical planning has been installed in 13 municipalities.

    Reproductive Health Voucher Project: More than 200,000 vouchers have been sold in 25 districts in south-western Uganda and central-eastern Uganda, helping to increase access to skilled medical care during pregnancy and delivery for poor women in rural and hard-to-reach areas. By the end of March 2017, the project had provided qualified medical assistance for more than 43,000 births, including 31,000 normal deliveries, 6,500 assisted deliveries, and 5,600 C-sections, making private, for-profit health centers accessible to more women.

    Health Systems Strengthening Project: As many as 230 health facilities countrywide have received medical equipment, and an e-recruitment job bureau at the Health Service Commission has been set up. Furthermore, eight of nine hospitals have been renovated. Scholarships have been provided to 797 health workers, with most of the beneficiaries pursuing diplomas, and more than 400 already having completed their studies.

    East Africa Public Health Laboratory Project:  The Uganda National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory was supported to reach the gold standard ISO accreditation, and to qualify to serve as a prestigious WHO Supranational Referral Laboratory, only the second of its kind on the continent. In 2014, the laboratory was instrumental in providing diagnosis for containing the spread of the Ebola and Marburg outbreak.

    Northern Uganda Social Action Fund: Now in its third phase, the project is supporting more than 43,000 households to engage in business and income generating opportunities. During its previous phase, some 900 community projects were supported to undertake public works and community infrastructure. A total of 344 investment groups were formed, saving up to the Uganda shilling equivalent of $35,000. Under NUSAF2, the project collaborated with the Inspectorate of Government to design the Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption (TAAC) initiative implemented by a consortium of NGOs, which successfully piloted Social Accountability and Community Monitoring within the project areas. The TAAC initiative, which cost $2 million, facilitated the 100% accountability of funds disbursed to community sub-projects.

    Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP): Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has increased institutional efficiency through a reduction of liabilities, an increase in KCCA own-source revenue, and an increased share of own-source revenue spent on service delivery. The Kira Road and Yusuf Lule-Acacia main junctions have been expanded and equipped to regulate traffic, improve the safety of both motorists and pedestrians, and reduce the time to travel.

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    As of December 2017, the IFC had commitments totaling to $295.7 million, of which $269.7 million was disbursed and outstanding, mainly in infrastructure. The IFC’s activities in Uganda are guided by the WBG’s FY16-21 Country Partnership Framework (CPF). In line with this, the IFC, through investment and advisory interventions, is developing projects in infrastructure and the oil sector. The IFC has worked closely with the Bank and MIGA on private power generation and distribution projects, and continues to collaborate closely within the WBG on renewable energy.

    Since the 1960s, the IFC has approved funding for more than 50 projects in Uganda amounting to $1.5 billion. These investments have boosted the power supply, increased farmers’ revenues, and supported small and medium enterprises. The IFC’s advisory services focus on business environment, health, education, housing finance, and infrastructure.

    Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

    MIGA’s portfolio has a combined gross exposure of $146.2 million, primarily focusing on guarantees covering investments in energy infrastructure. MIGA also supported Sithe Global (USA) with guarantees of $120 million covering its equity investment in Bujagali Energy Ltd.

    Last Updated: Oct 12, 2017

Api


LENDING

Uganda: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

More Photos Arrow

In Depth

Image
Oct 11, 2017

Africa's Pulse, No. 16, October 2017

Africa needs to improve the quality of its education and teach basic skills to adults, too, says Africa’s Pulse.

Image
Apr 11, 2016

International Development Association (IDA) in Africa

IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, contributes nearly 50% of its funds to 39 African countries.

Image
Apr 11, 2016

World Bank Africa Multimedia

Watch, listen and click through the latest videos, podcasts and slideshows highlighting the World Bank’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Image
Jul 03, 2012

Doing Business in Uganda

The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where Uganda ranks on the "Ease ...