Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally equatorial climate.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.
Beginning in the late 1800s, the area was ruled as a colony by the British, who established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts, most recently a lengthy civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army, which has caused tens of thousands of casualties and displaced more than a million people.
The Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago. Bantu-speaking populations, who were probably from central Africa, migrated to the southern parts of the country. These groups brought and developed ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization. The Empire of Kitara covered most of the great lakes area, from Lake Albert, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, to Lake Kyoga. Its leadership headquarters were mainly in what became Ankole (Ancholi) in the North, believed to have been run by the Bachwezi dynasty in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They may have followed a semi-legendary dynasty known as the Batembuzi. Bunyoro-Kitara is claimed as the antecedent of later kingdoms; Buganda, Toro, Ankole and Busoga.
The country is located on the East African plateau, lying mostly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S (a small area is north of 4°), and longitudes 29° and 35°E. It averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level, and this slopes very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north. However, much of the south is poorly drained, while the centre is dominated by Lake Kyoga, which is also surrounded by extensive marshy areas. Uganda lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from the lake into Lake Kyoga and thence into Lake Albert on the Congolese border. It then runs northwards into South Sudan. One small area on the eastern edge of Uganda is drained by the Turkwel River, part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana.
Environment and conservation
Uganda has 60 protected areas, including nine national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites), Kibale National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Semuliki National Park.
Uganda is divided into districts, spread across four administrative regions: Northern, Eastern, Central (Kingdom of Buganda) and Western. The districts are subdivided into counties. A number of districts have been added in the past few years, and eight others were added on 1 July 2006 plus others added in 2010. There are now over 100 districts. Most districts are named after their main commercial and administrative towns. Each district is divided into sub-districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes and villages. Political subdivisions in Uganda are officially served and united by the Uganda Local Governments Association (ULGA), a voluntary and non-profit body which also serves as a forum for support and guidance for Ugandan sub-national governments.
Parallel with the state administration, five traditional Bantu kingdoms have remained, enjoying some degrees of mainly cultural autonomy. The kingdoms are Toro, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda and Rwenzururu. Furthermore, some groups attempt to restore Ankole as one of the officially recognized traditional kingdoms, to no avail yet.
There are many areas which continue to attract concern when it comes to human rights in Uganda.Conflict in the northern parts of the country continues to generate reports of abuses by both the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, and the Ugandan Army. A UN official accused the LRA in February 2009 of "appalling brutality" in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of internally displaced persons is estimated at 1.4 million. Torture continues to be a widespread practice amongst security organisations. Attacks on political freedom in the country, including the arrest and beating of opposition members of parliament, have led to international criticism, culminating in May 2005 in a decision by the British government to withhold part of its aid to the country. The arrest of the main opposition leader Kizza Besigye and the siege of the High Court during a hearing of Besigye's case by heavily armed security forces – before the February 2006 elections – led to condemnation.
Economy and infrastructure
The Bank of Uganda is the Central bank of Uganda and handles monetary policy along with the printing of the Ugandan shilling.
For decades, Uganda's economy suffered from devastating economic policies and instability, leaving Uganda as one of the world's poorest countries. The country has commenced economic reforms and growth has been robust. In 2008, Uganda recorded 7% growth despite the global downturn and regional instability.
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. The country has largely untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas. While agriculture accounted for 56% of the economy in 1986, with coffee as its main export, it has now been surpassed by the services sector, which accounted for 52% of GDP in 2007. In the 1950s the British Colonial regime encouraged some 500,000 subsistence farmers to join co-operatives. Since 1986, the government (with the support of foreign countries and international agencies) has acted to rehabilitate an economy devastated during the regime of Idi Amin and the subsequent civil war. Inflation ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, and was 5.1% in 2003.
At the 2002 census, Uganda had a literacy rate of 66.8% (76.8% male and 57.7% female). Public spending on education was at 5.2% of the 2002–2005 GDP. Much public education in primary and secondary schools focuses upon repetition and memorization. There are also state exams that must be taken at every level of education. The system of education in Uganda has a structure of 7 years of primary education, 6 years of secondary education (divided into 4 years of lower secondary and 2 years of upper secondary school), and 3 to 5 years of post-secondary education. The present system has existed since the early 1960s. Although some primary education is compulsory under law, in many rural communities this is not observed as many families feel they cannot afford costs such as uniforms and equipment. State schools are usually run by the Church of Uganda and are built on land owned as such. In primary education, children sit exams at the end of each academic year in order to discern whether they are to progress to the next class; this leads to some classes which include a large range of ages. Upon completing P7 (The final year of primary education), many children from poorer rural communities will return to their families for subsistence farming. Secondary education is focused mainly in larger cities, with boarding optional. Children are usually presented with an equipment list which they are to obtain at the beginning of their time at secondary school. This list classically includes items such as writing equipment, toilet roll and cleaning brushes, all of which the student must have upon admission to school.
Places to Visit in Uganda
- Kampala attractions
- Jinja attractions
- Entebbe attractions
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park attractions
- Kisoro attractions
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park attractions
- Kasese attractions
- Kabale attractions
- Mbarara attractions
- Masindi attractions