Transforming African Economies - Factsheet on Uganda

  • Uganda is a predominantly rural society. About 85 percent of the population earns most of its income from agriculture and the sector is central to poverty reduction efforts.

  • At 3.4 percent per year, the population growth rate is among the fastest in the world but is outpaced by urban growth, which increased by 5.4 percent per year from 1991-2002. About 15 percent of the population lives in urban centers.

  • Most agricultural production is for subsistence rather than commercial gain but agricultural products continue to generate the majority of Uganda’s export earnings.

  • The services sector, primarily found in cities, has been the most dynamic part of the national economy in recent years, while the agricultural sector has been sluggish.

  • Kampala dominates the urban landscape but its significance may be diminishing. It hosts 80 percent of the country’s industrial and service firms, generates more than half of Uganda’s GDP, and is home to 34 percent of the total urban population, a decline from 45 percent in 1992.

  • Agriculture remains the largest employer and is an important source of non-traditional exports, such as fish, flowers, and other horticultural products, but its contribution to Uganda’s GDP has dwindled to less than 20 percent.

  • Construction and services have filled the gap, having benefited from foreign direct investment and remittances from overseas. While services have generated increased value, the proportion of Ugandans employed in the sector has fallen over the past decade.

  • Road infrastructure in most parts of the country improved from 2002-2010, cutting travel time and enabling more farmers to bring their produce to larger markets at lower cost, but these benefits have not reached the most remote rural areas.

  • About 39 percent of all farming households get more than one-fourth of their staple foods from the market, and about 31 percent of rural households sell significantly more staple foods than they buy.

  • The majority of food-insecure Ugandans live in the countryside but 72.7 percent of urban households are calorie deficient, compared to 60 percent of rural households.

Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)