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Uganda Economy Profile

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Economy - overview

Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, substantial reserves of recoverable oil, and small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy, employing 72% of the work force. The country’s export market suffered a major slump following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, but has recovered lately, largely due to record coffee harvests, which account for 16% of exports, and increasing gold exports, which account for 10% of exports. Uganda has a small industrial sector that is dependent on imported inputs such as refined oil and heavy equipment. Overall, productivity is hampered by a number of supply-side constraints, including insufficient infrastructure, lack of modern technology in agriculture, and corruption.

Uganda’s economic growth has slowed since 2016 as government spending and public debt has grown. Uganda’s budget is dominated by energy and road infrastructure spending, while Uganda relies on donor support for long-term drivers of growth, including agriculture, health, and education. The largest infrastructure projects are externally financed through concessional loans, but at inflated costs. As a result, debt servicing for these loans is expected to rise.

Oil revenues and taxes are expected to become a larger source of government funding as oil production starts in the next three to 10 years. Over the next three to five years, foreign investors are planning to invest $9 billion in production facilities projects, $4 billion in an export pipeline, as well as in a $2-3 billion refinery to produce petroleum products for the domestic and East African Community markets. Furthermore, the government is looking to build several hundred million dollars’ worth of highway projects to the oil region.

Uganda faces many economic challenges. Instability in South Sudan has led to a sharp increase in Sudanese refugees and is disrupting Uganda's main export market. Additional economic risks include: poor economic management, endemic corruption, and the government’s failure to invest adequately in the health, education, and economic opportunities for a burgeoning young population. Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa - only 22% of Ugandans have access to electricity, dropping to 10% in rural areas.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$89.19 billion (2017 est.)
$85.07 billion (2016 est.)
$83.14 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$26.62 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
4.8% (2017 est.)
2.3% (2016 est.)
5.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$2,400 (2017 est.)
$2,300 (2016 est.)
$2,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
20.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
21.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 74.3% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 23.9% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 18.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -25.1% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 28.2% (2017 est.)
industry: 21.1% (2017 est.)
services: 50.7% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
21.4% (2017 est.)
Labor force
15.84 million (2015 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 71%
industry: 7%
services: 22% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate
9.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 14.8%
male: 12.7%
female: 17.3% (2017 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 36.1% (2009 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
39.5 (2013)
45.7 (2002)
Budget
revenues: 3.848 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.928 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
14.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-4.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
40% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
5.6% (2017 est.)
5.5% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
9% (February 2018)
9.5% (December 2017)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
21.28% (31 December 2017 est.)
23.89% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$2.519 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.167 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$2.519 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.167 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$4.297 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.989 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$7.294 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$7.727 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.788 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Agriculture - products
coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, cassava (manioc, tapioca), potatoes, corn, millet, pulses, cut flowers; beef, goat meat, milk, poultry, and fish
Industries
sugar processing, brewing, tobacco, cotton textiles; cement, steel production
Industrial production growth rate
4.4% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$1.212 billion (2017 est.)
-$707 million (2016 est.)
Exports
$3.339 billion (2017 est.)
$2.921 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
coffee, fish and fish products, tea, cotton, flowers, horticultural products; gold
Exports - partners
Kenya 17.7%, UAE 16.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.6%, Rwanda 6.1%, Italy 4.8% (2017)
Imports
$5.036 billion (2017 est.)
$4.424 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
capital equipment, vehicles, petroleum, medical supplies; cereals
Imports - partners
China 17.4%, India 13.4%, UAE 12.2%, Kenya 7.9%, Japan 6.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.3%, Indonesia 4.4%, South Africa 4.1% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$3.654 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.034 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

note: excludes gold

Debt - external
$10.8 billion (22 March 2018 est.)
$11.54 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.241 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$541 million (2017)

NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

NA

Exchange rates
Ugandan shillings (UGX) per US dollar -
3,695 (2017 est.)
3,420.1 (2016 est.)
3,420.1 (2015 est.)
3,234.1 (2014 est.)
2,599.8 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
1 July - 30 June

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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