Uganda Human and Economic Geography


With an annual increase of 35%, produced by very high birth rates (around 50%) and mortality, the Uganda in 1999 it had a population of 21,619,700 residents. The growth rate has been slowing down for some years and the living conditions of the population have started to improve after a long period of decline. However, most of the demographic and socio-economic indicators outline a very unsatisfactory picture: infant mortality is around 100%, life expectancy is just over 40 years and illiteracy affects well over a third of the adult population (1995). Furthermore, the Uganda it is the African country most affected by the AIDS epidemic, which has claimed the lives of 1,800. 000 up to 1997 (of which 160. 000 in 1997 to about 930,000 HIV-positive): recent data, fortunately, signal a slowdown in the spread of the disease. The conditions of the Uganda they are still affected by the long negative phase that characterized the country’s politics during the seventies and the first half of the following decade. Subsequent stabilization efforts have begun to yield results, but some phenomena, such as urbanization produced by the insecurity of many parts of the country or the presence of refugees from neighboring states (at least 150. 000 from Sudan), although they do not appear serious in absolute terms, they weigh heavily on Uganda’s weak structure.

According to Physicscat, the urban population is just 14 % (1998) of the total and is concentrated for the most part in the capital, Kampala (890,800 residents in 1999), which has experienced a sudden and uncontrolled expansion with very serious social, health and hygiene problems. water and food supply. The ethnic (and consequently also political) differences that characterize the Ugandan population have then led to radicalization of the differences between the North and Center-South of the country, generating almost permanent armed conflicts, often intertwined with the political-military events of neighboring states.

Economic conditions

The structural adjustment advocated by the International Monetary Fund began especially in the years 1992 – 93 ; the results, in the short and medium term, seem to have been satisfactory, despite the political-military turbulence. Inflation was under control as early as 1993 ; the restitution of the companies that had been ‘nationalized’ in the 1970s to their rightful Asian owners made it possible for private foreign investments to regain confidence in the country; similarly, the Ugandans who have long since fled abroad have initiated a massive return of capital. The flow of international aid is also constant (over 800 million dollars a year, since 1993). Priority was given to the recovery of agriculture, which is essential in a country that has very modest mineral resources and an industry largely connected to the agri-food sector. In addition to export crops, those destined for local consumption (cereals, sweet potatoes, cassava, vegetables) recorded good increases, as well as fishing in inland waters and the production of precious wood. On the other hand, the government has engaged in a privatization campaign that is obtaining some interesting results, while it has started the progressive demobilization of about half of the army, to achieve the savings required by the IMF (thus causing considerable social problems. reintegration into work and the explosion of armed crime). Despite the always bad economic situation in the price of coffee (the only important item in the very weak Ugandan exports), the set of measures adopted and the pacification of the country have brought the Uganda to achieve significant economic growth: in the period 1990 – 97 the average annual increase in GDP was 4.4 %, in 1996 it reached 8.1 %, but the following year it fell to 5 %. Also by virtue of such encouraging results, the Uganda obtained the cancellation of 9 % of the external debt (1996).

It should also be added that the international consideration enjoyed by the Uganda it seems to depend to a large extent on the growing regional role the country is playing. Squeezed between internal guerrillas (especially in the North, but also in the Center and West) and external conflicts (in Sudan, Zaire, Rwanda), since the early nineties the Uganda it has taken initiatives to ‘normalize’ the political and territorial conditions. Since 1994 he has been decisively involved in the Rwandan crisis and, despite the contrast with Sudan (since 1955 the two countries broke off diplomatic relations, mutually reproaching each other for supporting independence movements), regaining the military control of the North that was contested by two different armed groups. In the following years the government managed to heal the serious conflict with the Baganda ethnic group, which in the center of the country had started the armed struggle, while in the years 1996 – 97 he decisively supported the overthrow of the Zairean regime. These successes, internally and externally, have allowed the Uganda a very active diplomatic presence and a geopolitical weight on which it seems that some Western countries (first and foremost the United States, which has established a base in the country) are willing to take advantage. At the same time, also through the reconstitution efforts of the East African Community (with Tanzania), the Uganda it shows its intention to encourage peaceful relations of economic and political integration in the region.

Uganda Human and Economic Geography