Learn About Uganda
Uganda is located in Eastern Africa and borders Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Though landlocked, Uganda is in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is surrounded by Lake Edward, Lake Albert and Lake Victoria. The country is mostly plateau with a rim of mountains and has a tropical climate. The capital city is Kampala.
Uganda achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Unfortunately, political instability has been a regular part of the Ugandan landscape since shortly after their independence. In 1971, Idi Amin led a coup when then President Milton Obote was out of the country. For the last twenty years, Joseph Kony (leader of the Lord's Resistance Army) and his soldiers waged a brutal civil war. Even today, 30,000 people remain displaced. A UN secretary for humanitarian affairs has called the war in Northern Uganda the "largest neglected humanitarian emergency in the world."
The population of Uganda is 35.8 million, with almost 50% under the age of 14 years. It also has the 2nd highest birth rate in the world. Although English is the official language of Uganda, Luganda is the most commonly spoken of the 40 tribal languages that exist. Ugandans largely practice Christianity, although 12% of the population is Muslim. Children typically attend school until the age of 11 years. As a result, 66% of the population is literate.
The average life expectancy of a Ugandan is 53.45 years. Family size is typically 6-8 members with the infant mortality rate ranking 27th in the world. Although prevention education has reduced the spread of HIV, Uganda still ranks 8th in the world for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. 25 million people live with HIV in Africa and half of these people also have TB. Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 25 to 40 percent of outpatient visits to health facilities, 15 to 20 percent of all hospital admissions and 9 to 14 percent of all hospital deaths. Nearly half of inpatient deaths among children under the age of five are attributed to malaria.
Living in Uganda
Half of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty throughout the world live in Africa. In Uganda, over 80% of the population survives on less than a dollar a day. Only 13% of the country lives in modernized conditions with access to clean water, electricity and healthcare. There are three forms of transportation in Kampala: boda-boda (motorcycle), mutate (bus) and private hire. Traveling throughout Uganda is time consuming as roads outside of Kampala are often not paved. Uganda's currency is the Shilling and it is generally a cash-based country.
Both the Head of State and the Head of Government in Uganda is President Yoweri Museveni who was elected by a popular vote in 2011 to a five-year term. As leader of Uganda, Museveni is also head of the armed forces. The cabinet is appointed by the president from among the elected legislators. The Prime Minister, currently Apolo Nsibambi, assists the president in the supervision of the cabinet. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system, and all citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote.
Uganda has significant natural resources, including fertile land and mineral deposits, and typically receives ample rainfall. Chronic political instability and erratic economic management produced a record of persistent economic decline that has left Uganda among the world's poorest and least-developed countries. “It is thought that Uganda could feed all of Africa if it was commercially farmed." Exports of apparel, hides, skins, vanilla, vegetables, fruits, cut flowers, and fish are growing, and cotton, tea, and tobacco continue to be mainstays for the country. The industrial sector is being rehabilitated to resume production of building and construction materials, such as cement, reinforcing rods, corrugated roofing sheets and paint. It is Africa's leading producer of coffee.
(CIA Factbook, Fightingmalaria.gov)