Uganda is a landlocked state in Eastern Africa on Lake Victoria with a land mass of 241,038km² west of Kenya and east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It has a population of 45.85 million, a GDP of US$40.5bn and its currency is the Ugandan shilling.
Economic activity was hit by COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Growth recovered from a contraction of 1.5% in 2020 to 6.0% in 2021 which is expected to continue, with GDP projected at 4.6% and 6.2% in 2022 and 2023. Agriculture was the least affected sector, industry was supported by strong expansion in mining and construction and manufacturing remained sluggish.
Uganda contains unexploited deposits of bismuth, chromite, cobalt, copper, graphite, lead, lithium, magnesite, nickel, rare earth elements and zinc, while iron ore, phosphate rock, tantalum and niobium minerals, tin (Africa’s fifth largest producer), tungsten (Africa’s fourth largest producer), gold and gemstones are also produced.
Uganda drafted a mining bill in 2019 to replace the Mining Act of 2003. According to the bill, the government will own a free carried interest in mining companies, value addition will be mandatory, and competitive bidding rounds will be introduced to ensure mining licences are not awarded to speculators or companies with insufficient capital. In February 2019, the Uganda Revenue Authority started implementing a ban on the export of unprocessed mineral ores and, as a result, KI3R Minerals International closed its tungsten mine in Uganda in February 2020.
Uganda has a generous refugee policy and has had an influx of foreigners mainly from the DRC and South Sudan who enjoy access to social services and land, and can move and work freely. However, the continued influx is straining host communities and service delivery.
Since the late 1980s, the state’s macroeconomic policies have consistently focused on containing inflation and ensuring exchange rate stability. President Yoweri Museveni’s government has made industrial sector development the centre of the state's socio-economic development plan. The industrial sector accounts for 18% of GDP and is largely dependent on imported inputs like oil and equipment.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.