Uganda is a landlocked country bordered by Kenya in the east, Sudan in the north, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south.
Uganda’s total land area is 241,559 sq km. About 37,000 sq km of this area is occupied by open water while the rest is land. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which it shares with Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1,100 meters (3,609 ft) above sea level. The plateau generally slopes downwards towards Sudan explaining the northerly tendency of most river flows in the country. Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform since the altitude modifies the climate.
Uganda’s elevation, soil types and predominantly warm and wet climate impart a huge agricultural potential to the country. They also explain the country’s large variety of forests, grasslands and wildlife reserves. Uganda has a total population of about 32 million people.
Over 80 per cent of the population live in rural areas and directly survive off the environment and natural resource base.
Population: Uganda’s population has continued to grow rapidly over time. It increased from 9.5 million in 1969 to 24.2 million in 2002. Between 1991 and 2002, the population growth rate was 3.2 percent. The population is projected to have increased to 32.9 million by mid 2011
Ethnic groups: Baganda, Banyankole, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Karamojong, Basoga, Bagisu, and others.The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and comprise approximately 17% of the population.
Religions: Christian, Muslim, others.
Languages: English (official), Swahili (official), Luganda, and numerous other local languages.
Uganda’s weather conditions are ideal, ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas to the coolness of the highlands in the South West Kigezi.
For most of the year, Uganda is sunny with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees. The average temperature is about 26 degrees C, with a maximum of 18-31 degrees and minimum of 15-23 degrees depending on the part of the country.
The rain season is March-May. Light rain season is November and December. Wet seasons are March –May and October-November; dry seasons are December to February and June to August.
Rainfall ranges between 500mm to 2500 mm and the relative humidity is 70 - 100%. The rainfall regime allows two planting and harvesting seasons a year in most parts of the country, without the use of irrigation.
About 34% of the country is covered in wetlands with a dense network of rivers, lakes and swamps.
Generally, the country is endowed with fertile soils. Uganda has some of the largest lakes on the continent including Lake Albert and Lake Victoria
Uganda is a presidential republic, in which the President of Uganda is both head of State and head of Government; there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system with universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years of age.
In a measure ostensibly designed to reduce sectarian violence, political parties were restricted in their activities from 1986. In the non-party "Movement" system instituted by the current president Yoweri Museveni, political parties continued to exist but could not campaign in elections or field candidates directly (although electoral candidates could belong to political parties). A constitutional referendum cancelled this 19-year ban on multi-party politics in July 2005. General elections are held every five years.
Constitution: it was ratified in July 12, 1995 and promulgated October 8, 1995.
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--parliament. Judicial--Magistrates' Courts, High Court, Court of Appeals (Constitutional Court), Supreme Court.
Political parties: 38 registered parties. Major political parties include the National Resistance Movement (NRM, the ruling party), Forum for a Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), Conservative Party (CP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), among others.
National holiday: Independence Day, October 9.
The 1995 Constitution established Uganda as a republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every 5 years. President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2001, 2006, and 2011. Legislative responsibility is vested in the parliament; legislative elections are held every 5 years. Because of redistricting, the parliament elected in February 2011 grew from 332 to 375 members, including 112 special seats for women, 10 special seats for military, five for youth, and five for persons with disabilities. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent branch of government and consists of the Magistrates Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal (which also sits as the Constitutional Court when required) and the Supreme Court.
Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation and adopted policies that have promoted rapid economic development
Uganda suffered political turmoil and devastating economic drawbacks between 1971 and 1986. This extended period of regression left Uganda as one of the world’s poorest countries. Under Museveni's leadership the country initiated a broad range of economic reforms including the notable liberalisation of market prices and privatisation of public enterprises. These reforms have improved economic performance and sustained economic growth at an average of 7% per annum for the last ten years.
Bank of Uganda (BoU) is the Central Bank of the Republic of Uganda. The primary purpose of the Bank is to foster price stability and a sound financial system. Together with other institutions, it also plays a pivotal role in upholding international best practice in creating a conducive environment for macro-economic stability
The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development derives its mandate and functions from the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and other related subordinate laws, including; the Budget Act (2001), the Public Finance and Accountability Act (2003) and acts establishing agencies and auxiliary organizations. Accordingly, the Ministry plays a pivotal role in the co-ordination of development planning; mobilisation of public resources; and ensuring effective accountability for the use of such resources for the benefit of all Ugandans.
The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is a semi-autonomous government agency operating in partnership with the private sector and Government of Uganda to drive national economic growth and development. The Authority was setup by an Act of Parliament (Investment Code 1991, which was later revised to the Edition 2000 Laws of Uganda) with the aim of promoting and facilitating private sector investment in Uganda.
The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) was set up in 1933. It is the oldest and largest nation-wide umbrella organization of the private sector in Uganda. UNCCI was formed as a private sector body and has grown to become a vibrant and credible business association, owned by members from the Ugandan business community. It was formally registered in 1978 as a company limited by guarantee without share capital. UNCCI enjoys a diverse membership and nationwide outreach with its 10 regional and over 80 district branches and draws its membership from the entire private sector, particularly the sectors of ; tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, construction, import- export, transport, financial services, Small and Medium Enterprises etc.
The Ministry was formed out of a merger of the Ministries of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Technology. The mandate of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) is derived from the Constitution under the Sixth Schedule Article 189, which provides functions and services for which government is responsible and the mandate of the MTTI is covered under sections 6, 8,10,11,20 and 23; and the National Objectives and Directive Policy of State contained in XIII - Protection of Natural Resources and XIV - General Social and Economic Functions.
The Ugandan Government generally seeks good relations with other nations without reference to ideological orientation. Uganda's relations with Rwanda,D.R.C. and Sudan have sometimes been strained because of security concerns. Uganda, D.R.C., Rwanda, and Burundi participated in the U.S.-facilitated Tripartite Plus process, which helped ease tensions and contributed to increased bilateral contacts with the aim of resolving conflicts between the neighbors. Uganda has over 4,000 peacekeepers in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Bilateral relations between the United States and Uganda have been good since Museveni assumed power, and the United States welcomed Museveni’s efforts to end human rights abuses and to pursue economic reform.
Uganda is a member of the UN, the Commonwealth of States, and several related agencies, and is a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It also belongs to the Non-aligned Movement, the Group of 77, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Uganda welcomes diplomatic relations with all nations, regardless of ideology.
Uganda is a member of the World Trade Organistion (WTO), COMESA, East African Community (EAC)
Wondering why it is called 'The Pearl of Africa'? Where else can you see lions prowling across the open savanna as day breaks before white water rafting down the Nile; then the next day set off into the misty mountains in search of the majestic mountain gorillas before settling in to watch a local cultural evening around the camp fire?
Uganda has been ranked the number one destination for tourists for the year 2012 by Lonely Planet which is the largest travel guide and media publisher in the world.
The following week, Qatar Airways, a member of the five star alliance, announced that it would be launching a service to Uganda's international hub, Entebbe Airport.
Uganda Tourism Board has served the country in ensuring the success and growth of tourism in Uganda for over 15 years. This has been in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry since its inception. The world over, the board is marketing and promoting the Pearl of Africa, its true nature, culture, wildlife, accommodation, and hospitality all packed in a country that is "Gifted by Nature".
More about tourism visit: www.visituganda.com
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