Uganda Overview

Uganda is a landlocked country located in the Eastern part of Africa. Bordered with Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic if the Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. Uganda is an equatorial country with a temperate climate. The country is mostly on a plateau average above 1000 meters. Diverse terrain and climate variation can be found in the country. The altitude range from 1100 meters to the sea level which slopping downward from the south to the north. The southern part was much more humid than the north. UgandaOMC.png

Uganda was once a protectorate of Britain in the 19th century. Uganda gain independence on 9 October 1962. The first election was held in 1962. In 1971, Idi Amin gain power in a military coup and start dictatorship in Uganda. Uganda than experience sever mass killings under the rule of Idi Amin and the currrent president Yoweri Museveni. Uganda was once being called “A State of Blood” in the 1970s and still suffers from mass murder and child slavery. According to UNDP, Uganda’s Human development Index remains low as 0.446, ranking at 161st out of 187 countries in 2011 (UNDP, 2011).

766px-Uganda_Export_Treemap.pngThe capital city is Kampla located in the southern Ugada. According to The 2012 Uganda Population and Housing Census, the total population is around 34 million in 2012. The country is composite with diverse ethnic groups while no ethnic group is dominated. Despite there are abundant natural resources in Uganda, including oil and natural gas. Uganda is still one of the poorest countries in the world. According to International Monetary, t he estimate nominal GDP per capita is $477 in 2011 (UNDP, 2011).Poverty was deep-root problem in rural areas. Agriculture is the major source of national income.

Natural Constraints in Uganda

Natural Constraints: A Cause for Poverty?

Physical Environment

Population Boom


Civil War

Woman Right

Foreign Exploitation

4.jpgAccording to World Bank, Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 37.7 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Although Uganda had successfully reduce making countrywide poverty incidence from 56 percent of the population in 1992 to 31 per cent in 2005, poverty in the country’s rural areas, which are home to more than 85 per cent of Ugandans, is still a serious issues.

Uganda had rich reserve of natural resources, including crude oil and natural gas. In 2009, an Anglo-Irish exploration firm, Tullow Oil, had announced a discovery of oil near the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda. This is the 10th discovery reserve in the region. Many resources such as copper, iron ore, cobalt, tungsten, limestone, salt, gold and fertile land also can be found in Uganda. Uganda people had started cultivated on the fertile land many centuries ago. In recent years, agriculture has still account for over 20% of the National GDP and 50% of the imagesCAIDHYR8.jpgexported goods (UNDP, 2011). Around 70%of Ugandan still employed in the Agriculture sector. Uganda has earn income and made improvement from the favourable farmland. The population living standard has been improved. In 1992, 56% of population lived below the poverty line had been reduced to 24% in 2010 (NHDR, 2010).

oil exploration tower in Uganda.jpgHowever, the underground do not seems to benefit Uganda at the same way. The underground resources attract foreign investment and attentions from the developed countries. Although it provides opportunities for Uganda boost the economy, most of the company are owned by international enterprise. For example, the Tullow and Heritage, an Anglo-Canadian firm, own the most promising drilling rights in Uganda. The pair also hold rights on the Congolese side of Lake Albert, where is one of the largest oil reserve base in Uganda. The benefit had goes to the multi-national enterprise and the corrupted government instead of improving Ugandan’s livelihood.

Population Boom

Uganda had a high fertility rate which every woman will give birth to 7 children in her life
(Uganda Population and Housing Census, 2012). As
hanah-300x234.jpgmost of the Ugandan depends on agriculture for living, especially the worst-off people who live in the rural area of the country. A large number of family members created higher pressure over the agriculture land. The land may over-drain nutrients by over-cultivation and result in desertification. The land will not able to support the population and intensify the poverty problem. The population boom is also creating high pressure toward the pop_dev_img01.jpgemerging economy. With a large population basis, it will be difficult for Uganda economy to pursue the population growth rate. Uganda economy may eventually bring to its downfall by the increasing population and diminishing reserve of resources.


Transparency International Index

Ugandan Government is regarded as one of the most corrupted government in East Africa. Uganda scored 2.4 out of 10 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (2011). The lack of transparent institution and awareness to fight against corruption is another major obstacle to beat country’s poverty. The corrupted bureaucracies will discourage foreign investment and trade flow since it cost more resources for foreign company to trade in Uganda. Moreover, the taxes pay by investing company will only fall in the hands of corrupted officials. It further reduces the competitiveness of Uganda. Without hierarchy transparency, neither the better-off nor the foreign will put capital into the monetary circulation. The poverty problem will be unlikely to improve with solely primary production development.


Lack of Woman Right

uganda-child-birth-730.jpgWomen have a significantly lower social status than men. Rural women have the responsibility to perform agricultural work as well as caretaking within their families. The average Ugandan woman spends 9 hours a day on domestic tasks. Uganda women on average work longer hours than men, between 12 and 18 hours per day, with a mean of 15 hours, as compared to men, who work between 8 and 10 hours a day (World Bank, 2012).

3.jpgThe gender inequality situation has forces women to be dependent on the men. Uganda women do not have opportunities to receive higher education and participate independently in social life. It cripples significant working forces in the state. The raise in women social states as well as rights could release a new working force for the tertiary industry. It could be a way to fight against poverty. Results of the 1998/99 Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment (UPPAP) – on which the revised Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) is based – and the UPPAP2 (2001/2002) demonstrate strong linkage between gender and poverty.

Civil War


child_soldier_uganda.jpgMuseveni is also a dictator who rules Uganda in a military means, similar to former dictator Amin. Museveni engaged in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The war continuously disturbs the Northern region for over two decades. Other internal conflicts in the Great Lakes region and civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army had created refugees, child soldiers and destroyed agricultural development. The numerous civil wars had consumed the states capital and resources. The Ugandans are responsible for the military expenses of the state. That generate even greater burden over people’s already tough life. Mass murder also take placed under Museveni’s dictatorship. It further worsens the poverty issue as most of the work-capable men and women were killed at that period. The production forces massively drop and the state focus turn to military power among different groups instead of people’s livelihood. The political turmoil places the Ugandan under terror and drag back development.



Over 37,000 people live at the Amuru camp in northern Uganda, which is one of the largest camps for internally-displaced people (IDP) in the country, after abandoning their homes as a result of the long-running civil war between the government Ugandan People's Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) guerrilla group (New Agriculturist, 2012).


We can see in Uganda, the natural resources do not hold the key to prosperity. Other than natural reserves, other factors are more important to the cause of poverty. Although Uganda have large reserve of oil and other resources, the corrupted government, skyrocketing population growth, in civil war and women problems had eliminated Uganda’s natural advantage. In this case study, we can conclude natural constraint is not the only factor would lead to poverty.


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  2. DEAGLÁN de BRÉADÚN, Uganda aid stopped as €4m goes missing, The Irish Times, 2012. [online available]
  3. **Heather Joyner Spica**.Heather McClintock's Photos Bear Witness to Uganda's Long Civil War. MetroPulse, 2011.[online available]
  4. Rodney Muhumuza, Uganda loses 16 women in childbirth daily, 3 News, 2012.[online available]
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  7. United Nation Development Programme(2012), ‘United Nations Develop Uganda’.[online available]
  8. **"Uganda at a Glance"**. World Bank. 13 November 2009.
  9. The 2012 Uganda Population and Housing Census. 2012.[online available]