Poverty in Uganda
The Republic of Uganda is in the African continent which constitutes a majority of the poor population in the world. There are 44 million people in Uganda, and 30% of Uganda’s population lives on less than $1.90 PPP per day. People speak more than 30 different indigenous languages in this land of 240,000 Sq. Km. The population in Uganda is increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, by 2025, Uganda will have a population of 51.9 million. However, it is not increasing in proportion to the employment rate. Here are seven facts about prolonged poverty in Uganda.

7 Facts About Prolonged Poverty in Uganda

  1. Transportation: When most of the world is traveling by car, people in Uganda transport from one place to the other by bicycles because of poor road conditions. Every 100 road crashes kill approximately 24 people. Accidents cost $1.2 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses annually, which accounts for 5% of Uganda’s GDP. The government invested a significant amount in infrastructural development to eradicate this problem.
  2. Health and Health Care: Uganda has a high number of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory tract infections and diarrheal diseases, which may contribute to the average life expectancy of 59 years. Limited health care is another factor that affects Ugandans’ health. In fact, there are more ministers in Uganda than there are hospital beds. Moreover, only eight physicians are available for every 100,000 people. When COVID-19 entered Uganda, Ugandans did not feel a difference because they were already used to lockdowns and poor health care. Luckily, Uganda has a robust health care development plan for the upcoming decade. In addition, Uganda is improving its tracking system for health supplies in order to provide quality drugs to sick people.
  3. Food Shortage: Pests and droughts have an effect on Uganda’s food security. Around 2 million people in Uganda are desperately hungry, so a pest infestation or drought could cause many deaths. Additionally, Uganda is hosting other nationals or refugees, which is putting further strain on its food system. Farmers in Uganda are starting to use technology to forecast weather in order to generate profitable yields.
  4. Sanitation: Around 87% of Uganda’s population does not have access to clean water. As a result, around 4,500 children in Uganda die every year because of diarrheal diseases. Several borehole micro-projects are in progress to provide a clean source of water to Ugandans.
  5. Education: Like any other poor country, Uganda’s economic progress is dependent on education. Both public and private schools in Uganda do not necessarily provide quality education. The primary education completion rate is around 53% in Uganda. It is currently increasing at a slow pace. Poor education will lead to high unemployment rates in Uganda. NGOs and CSOs such as SchoolNet Uganda, Uconnect and the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) are working towards improving education access in Uganda. SchoolNet Uganda works to provide technical facilities to several institutions in Uganda.
  6. Inequality: The inequality rate is increasing at an alarming rate in Uganda, which contrasts with the high rates of GDP growth. Uganda has started targeting social sectors such as education and health to improve its growth rate. However, this policy has not helped to improve the inequality rate. In fact, all these decisions worsened the inequality rate. Twenty percent of Uganda’s population owns around 50% of the total wealth.
  7. Sustainability: Statistically, two out of three people fall back into poverty in Uganda after coming out of it. Social security is the major reason for returning back to poverty. The Ugandan government spends only 1% of its GDP on social security. Its green growth development strategy shows a promising vision for 2018-2030.

Looking Ahead

Uganda’s growth in the last decade was mainly dependent on good fortune. The Ugandan government could solve prolonged poverty in Uganda if it focuses on improving access to electricity, education, child malnutrition, agriculture and employment.

Narasinga Moorthy
Photo: Flickr