Uganda is one of the countries that lie in the larger African continent. As a country, it is bordered by a number of countries including Kenya to the East and South Sudan to the Northern part. It is a land locked country adding to the many of its kind in Africa including but not limited to Ethiopia. Its name comes from the fact that it was under the leadership of the Buganda kingdom.
Previously, Uganda was a colony of Britain and upon its independence there has been a trail of political developments that have put the country in shake from the last coup that gave power to the incumbent whose character is also in question. To add on that, Uganda, being a country in Africa, is considered to be a developing state and as a result it has been having its great share of problems social, economic and political. This paper thus seeks to look into and highlight the progress Uganda has made not from independence, but for the last five years.
According to the World Bank population report, Uganda’s population in the year 2013 was approximately forty million people. Most of these people occupy the rural areas of Uganda which also form the largest part of Uganda. Majority of the locals rely on agriculture to meet their daily needs. The total number of the youths greatly surpasses that of the old and middle aged people according to the Uganda Population report 2012.
It was noted that almost 80 per cent of the population are the youths Uganda Population Report, making Uganda to be the number one country with majority of youths in the whole world. Such statistics have been termed as worrying because problems could arise if the young population is not properly utilized economically.
The large percentage of young people in the country has been linked to high dependence rates a matter that could lead to extreme poverty. Further, this continuing upward trend of the young population not only leads to strain on households due to over dependence, but would also strain the available national services such as health and education. Any more advancement in population would mean increased demand for these essential services and the scenario would be hectic unless the government steps up.
The above graph shows the lack of a means to control the population in Uganda hence the large population. It has been noted that factors such as gender inequality have contributed to the rise in population because women are seen as baby-making machines in most African countries, Uganda to be specific calling for urgent addressing of gender issues.
To add on the above, the number of jobs created would not be able to catch up with the rising need for employment and other services. More than 80% of the young population is not employed because of many factors. Some of the factors contributing to unemployment include very slow economic growth, a limited market for workforce, and the uncontrolled birth rates, an unchanging system of education, increased migration from rural areas to urban centers among other factors. Consequently, when there are no jobs income distribution becomes unequal hence more problems.
Because of the challenging life and all the frustrations, the young population is easily misguided and the result of this is that they may turn to alcohol and drugs which would most probably lead to health problems due to infections by diseases such as H.I.V. According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey, it was established that a high percentage of women than men had indulged in sexual intercourse by the age of 18 years. This is a worrying trend that definitely needs to be remedied before things get worse.
As mentioned before, because of the many inequalities the distribution of income in Uganda is quite worrying. According to the World Bank statistics the income held by the lowest twenty percent Ugandans compared to that of the highest twenty percent of Ugandans varied greatly. In the year 2012, the highest twenty percent Ugandans held around 49.84 of the share of income while the lowest twenty percent of Ugandans held only six percent share of the income. The below graphs indicate the foregoing information respectively.
Graph One: Twenty percent highest share income
Graph Two: twenty percent lowest share income
(The source of the two graphs is World Bank Reports)
On the other hand, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Uganda has been on the rise since the 19060s ($ 0.42 billion) to $ 28.0 billion in the year 2015. The growth is attributable to a number of factors which included the improvement in infrastructure, technological advancement and many other factors. The diagram below shows how the GDP of Uganda has fared on since the year 2006.
Poverty has been defined differently by majority of researchers and scholars. Some say it is lack of money; some say is the inability to pay for your daily needs. While recognizing the problem on a definition, the World Bank accepts that poverty goes beyond lack of money.
It has been noted that Uganda has rapidly managed to reduce poverty rates in the last few years. Despite the continued increase in population, there has been a reduction in poverty from about 32 percent to less than 20 percent in 2013. It is worth noting that Ugandan managed to increase the number of people living above the poverty line by about twenty percent according to Uganda Poverty Assessment.
Among the main contributors to the decline in the poverty rates, is the agricultural sector that thrived thanks to stable prices and good weather. Also, steps towards creating more urban centers in Uganda have also contributed to poverty reduction as they have led to increased interactions and market for agricultural and other products World Bank.
Uganda has taken the necessary measures towards ensuring there is internet in the country. The most facilitating factor is that Uganda has continued to connect more homes to the national electricity grid and also adopting an Act whose objective was to facilitate access to information. This was the “Access To Information Act” that it signed in the year 2005. Despite the foregoing actions, the free use of these services has been violated when the government cut of internet during the recently concluded general elections.
From the information above, this paper has managed to establish that Uganda is ranked first when it comes to the highest percentage of young persons in the world. This has been identified as 78 percent and it poses a great threat to many things in the economy. This has been because of the uncontrolled births. The lack of employment to accommodate these young people has and would continue to cause problems such as increasing poverty due to overdependence on parents, possibilities of joining criminal gangs among others.
The reason for this is there are many young persons who are ready for employment but the job market is still limited. It is also worth noting that although Uganda has a high number of youths, it has managed to reduce the rate of poverty within a short span of time and there are many factors that contributed to the positive trend. Further, Uganda has managed to enact a number of positive legislations but the major problem that still remains is the inability to implement these laws as the government has the final say on what happens. A good example is the adoption of the Access To Information Act which is just but a passive law as the president can order the violation of any law without repercussions.
Uganda just as any other third world country has and still depends on grants and loans from international organizations. Its development projects were thus being funded by World Bank but there were many things that led to termination of the funding Juuko (2010). Among the reasons highlighted were that Uganda did not treat the workers who worked on the projects for instance roads.
There were also many complaints of inhumane actions such as violating human rights in the name of development. Further, children were being violated by the construction workers and nothing was being done by the government to address the concerns. In another case, people’s way of life was being interfered with without any consideration for the economic rights of citizens. The result of the complaints was that World Bank had to cut the funding of these projects that not only had performance issues but also inadequate monitoring of the projects by the relevant authorities. As of now, the World Bank has cut off its funding of projects in Uganda.
When it comes to IMF, Uganda has apparently performed according to the policies set. As such, there have been a number of things that Uganda has done to ensure that its economy is stabilized through factors such as reviewing their monetary policy and working towards attaining a stable currency. Uganda has done quite a number of things that have not only helped alleviate poverty but also worked towards taming inflation. Objectives such as identifying the most necessary projects and working towards their achievement have been put into place so that the ultimate goals of the funding et al would be realized. on matters to do with debts, Uganda was previously allowed to borrow to some limit, but after assessment, it has been allowed to borrow more because of the viability of its projects and also because of the low risk involved. Uganda has however not raised any complaints that concern World Trade Organization. It has however taken active roles in all the areas that concern bilateral and international trade.
Almost every country has its own social, economic and political challenges. Uganda is no different as its struggle for a better country has been preceded by an number of coups that have lead to the current state of affairs. Despite the fact that we are in the 21st century, most of the people in Uganda are yet to experience real democracy. The past two or so elections have been marred with irregularities with the incumbent apparently being voted by 99% of the electorates. Those who came out to oppose have been met by the ruthless force of government police who instead of serving the people, they end up serving the interests of the president.
Socially, people are able to do quite a number of things but still, their ability to expand is limited to what the government dictates. People cannot speak openly as they would be either assassinated or harassed by the government police. To add on that, women are still being misused as the Ugandan society is still stuck in the old cultural practices. Female genital mutilation is still being practiced in a world where people moved away from such practices.
Economically, there have been quite some significant improvements such as opening investment channels but there is still much that need to be addressed. The concept of looking at women as only child bearing machines needs to stop and instead empower women who have been hailed as important tools for economic development. Women also have to be given the chance to go to school and have the right to seek and get employed in areas where they qualify. Instances whereby the young are the most unemployed in the country ought to be minimized by creating job opportunities and encouraging the young populace to stop being lazy and start innovating new ideas.
The H.I.V pandemic has hit almost every corner of the world. Uganda on its part has been able to reduce the rate of infection by a great deal but this could become a big issue especially when the youths are left jobless and without any empowerment. By not addressing youth unemployment, these youths would find their way into the wrong things as they would have nowhere to seek solace.
As mentioned earlier, Uganda has had a bad history politically Barkan. There has been a number of coups some of which led to the installation of a dictator as Uganda president to the current power drunk Head of State Mari. The recent unfolding whereby the president bought the entire parliament to sway votes for a unanimous constitutional change to favor his interests may be a short time remedy but in the end, it would come to haunt the country. In a world where people embrace democracy such despotic actions against opposition leaders are not things that would stay in play for long.
For instance, the citizens may have feared the intimidation and harassment by the police Musoke as was the case in the last elections but they would not suffer in silence for long. As such, it would be politically unstable the next time elections are held because even investors would be scared to invest in a country they have no idea which turn would take. Further, because of the evident rigging and harassment of opposition leaders the world may also get tired of such kind of leadership and that would not mean well for various industries for instance trade, tourism and sports.
It was highlighted above that, there is inequality in Uganda. We have income inequality, gender inequality and many other forms or inequalities. To address the matter, there has to be proper mechanisms through which policies and would be passed to address each case specifically. Of great concern is the income inequality which runs across all sectors. The rich ought to be taxed more to reduce the share of income they receive. Also, there has to be programs that would seek to empower the youth and women so that they also get the chance to grow economically. Additionally, accessing information also seems to have attracted some form of inequality. This is the case especially where mobile phones cannot be accessed by all the populace due to factors such as taxation that act to increase prices Burrell.
Since decades ago, the state of Uganda has been a struggling one. As such, Uganda has been growing or developing amid fears and uncertainties of when the next coup would take place. Therefore, despite the fact that it is a country still in its sleep, Uganda has generally grown from one step to the other. Because of that, it has been slowly going through each process and perhaps, it would eventually be somewhere in the world economic map. Despite the bad and ugly stories behind it, it is believable that the country is headed the right way although some crucial matters ought be addressed if at all the government wishes to show that it is committed to promoting democracy, economic growth and other important things that generally affect the country.