Uganda Relations with Neighboring Countries

Uganda’s geographical location as a landlocked country does not make it easy to coexist with neighboring countries.

Time and again there are conflicts with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the borders at Lake Albert in 2007, and later over resources at Lake Edward. At the ongoing war are involved in eastern Congo, where estimated 150 different rebel groups, suffering mainly civilians. Many people are fleeing and looking for security in Uganda. In August 2018, an Ebola epidemic broke out in eastern Congo in the regions of Ituri and North Kivu, both bordering Uganda. In mid-June 2019, the first Ebola patients crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Uganda. In July 2019 Uganda was declared Ebola free by the WHO explained. A total of 3,470 Ebola infected people were registered, 2,287 people succumbed to the disease. The situation in Eastern Congo has been improving since the beginning of 2020, and the outbreak has been over since June 2020. However, a new outbreak was recorded in the west of the large country, in the Equateur Province, but far from the Ugandan border. In November 2019, Felix Tshisekedi, the President of The Republic of Congo, visited Uganda. Uganda’s contribution to the security of Eastern Congo and the development of better economic cooperation is to be the joint construction of 223 km of roads in Eastern Congo. This is also criticized in Uganda.

In early 2019, a conflict between Rwanda and Uganda intensified. Rwanda warned of the arrests of its citizens in the neighboring country and blocked the border, especially for trucks. The whole region suffered. In August 2019, with the mediation of the presidents of Angola and Congo, an agreement to settle the conflict was agreed.

According to dentistrymyth, the previously very tense relationship with Khartoum / Sudan (Uganda supported the Sudanese anti-government SPLA, Sudan the Ugandan rebels of the LRA) improved after the conclusion of the peace treaty between North and South Sudan. Former South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar was instrumental in the peace process in northern Uganda. However, it was not until 2015, after more than twelve years, that Museveni and Bashir met again. The incumbent President of Sudan’s interim government, Abdel Fattah Burhan, visited President Museveni shortly after taking office.

A peace treaty was signed between the conflicting parties in South Sudan in August 2018, but it has not yet been implemented. The situation in neighboring South Sudan has been worrying since the end of 2013. There was fighting between the army of government Salva Kiir and the followers of his former Vice President Riek Machar. Uganda provided military aid to the Salva Kiir government with fighter jets and troops. This conflict has had massive effects on Uganda to this day. About 2.2. Millions of South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, including over 880,000 to Uganda, many unaccompanied children are among them. The crisis is considered the third largest refugee crisis in the world, after Syria and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Uganda is considered a model country in refugee policy, the refugees are allowed to work immediately, receive land and are allowed to build semi-permanent houses on it or to grow food. However, Uganda is currently reaching its limits, the support of the world community is still too low, and refugees are not welcome everywhere. In addition, there is the degradation of the environment, the refugees mainly use firewood for cooking, in a radius of five km around the camps, deforestation increased by 14%. According to media reports, too little is being done to improve the situation in South Sudan and bring about an end to the crisis. In addition, a corruption and fraud scandal was uncovered in 2018, the number of refugees was reported as too high, land was used for other purposes, funds were embezzled, and refugees are said to have even been sold. The Ugandan government has taken action and dismissed those responsible, but the many existing refugees will now suffer from the further reduced funds.

The then Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel traveled to Uganda in August 2017 to get an idea of the situation and praised Uganda’s refugee policy.

As a peaceful country in the middle of trouble spots, Uganda is a country that regularly takes in and cares for refugees from neighboring countries.

Generally speaking, Uganda has good relations with Tanzania. The generally good relations with Kenya were slightly clouded by a conflict over an island in Lake Victoria. The joint plans to develop the East African Community (EAC) into a customs union and later an economic and monetary union with the aim of a political union strengthens relations between all countries involved (Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi).

Uganda supports the African Union as part of the AMISOM mission in Somalia with the largest contingent of troops of the currently five African countries involved. The soldiers and military trainers support the Somali transitional government. From 2010 to 2013 the German Armed Forces trained Somali soldiers in Uganda as part of the European Training Mission for Somalia EUTM SOM, after which training was continued in Somalia. However, this engagement also brought threats to Uganda. First a terrorist was discovered among the Somali soldiers being trained in Uganda, followed by threats from the Islamists and finally a terrible act of terrorism on July 11, 2010, when several bombs exploded in an Ethiopian restaurant and rugby club. At least 76 people who watched the final of the World Cup on television were killed.

Uganda strives for a voice in multilateral forums, is particularly active in the area of East Africa, the Great Lakes region and the entire continent.

As a member of the Commonwealth, Uganda hosted the Commonwealth Head of State Meeting in November 2007. No effort or expense was spared to create the infrastructure for such an event. In the long term, Uganda hopes for an upswing in international reputation, but also in the economy and tourism.

Uganda Relations with Neighboring Countries