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Country Reports

Uganda Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Yoweri Museveni is highly likely to run for a sixth term in 2021, having been endorsed to continue in office by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in February and March 2019. He is unlikely to be challenged successfully from within the party.Sustained opposition alliances would indicate both a growing threat to NRM rule and rising protests risks. Absent such unity, sustained or disruptive protests are unlikely, and where protests do occur the security forces will respond swiftly with force. Inward investors, especially in the power, mining, and infrastructure sectors, can expect political assistance and favourable tax arrangements, but established investors who fail to meet production, progress, and price targets face having their tax arrangements and contracts reviewed or revoked. Additionally, the government will likely push for greater value-addition (e.g., local processing of minerals) when (re)negotiating agreements and concessions. Oil sector contract alteration is less likely due to risk of disruption to the commencement of oil production, which the government expects in 2022. We assess that actual production is unlikely before 2023 despite Museveni viewing it as a key part of his legacy.Western intelligence co-operation in countering external threats and a lack of local affiliates mitigate the risk of attack by the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab. Successful coup attempts are unlikely. With improving fundamentals in the private sector and a brighter outlook for business confidence, we expect GDP growth of 6.2% in 2019 and 6.3% in 2020. Further investment spending in energy infrastructure and a buoyant private sector will be the key drivers of growth in 2019. Speeding up the industrialisation process will be a key focus of the government in the near to medium term.Export growth performance will continue to depend on key global agricultural price developments, but volatile export patterns are likely as a result of political instability in Uganda's key trading partners.
Last update: August 17, 2019

Operational Outlook

Corruption and crippling bureaucracy remain endemic problems in Uganda, with the embezzlement of public funds and solicitation of bribes widespread, including at top government levels. Poor infrastructure constrains the development of business in the country. Some obstacles, such as power generation and transport infrastructure, are also priority areas for development. However, the government will likely continue to struggle to fully meet its funding commitments in joint projects. In July 2016, the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy Secretariat claimed that state regulatory requirements and burdens cost the private sector over USD200 million annually.

Last update: June 26, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

The same under-funding, corruption, and politicisation that has impaired the Ugandan police in combating increasing violent crime has likely also undermined past-improvements to counter-terrorism efforts. Western intelligence co-operation and a lack of local Islamist affiliates contribute to keeping successful large IED attacks utilising unlikely, although Uganda remains an aspirational target for Al-Shabaab. Since its July 2010 attacks in Kampala, Al-Shabaab and its proxies have focused their attacks on neighbouring Kenya. There is an increased risk of attacks on security forces by 'traditional kingdom' militants in the southwest, and of armed raids into western Uganda by DRC-based militants, facilitated by growing co-operation with Ugandan criminal networks.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Crime has become a growing problem in Uganda during recent years. Rising violent crime compared to pre-2016 (mostly against locals but also affecting foreign expatriates) poses the greatest risk of death and injury in Uganda. Declining police efficacy in combating this is driven by chronic under-funding, corruption, and politicisation of the police. Crime risks, including armed robbery, murder, and kidnap for ransom (almost exclusively targeting locals), are particularly pronounced in Kampala, other urban and peripheral areas, the greater Masaka area in Central region, and along major highways. In November 2018, the Ugandan military announced it would deploy soldiers to guard businesses (especially Chinese-owned factories) after a spate of robberies, particularly in central Uganda. Increasing crime is likely the work of financially motivated criminal groups (rather than the "terrorists" the government frequently blames murders on), including demobilised "crime preventers" and former party militia members, with some collusion by security forces elements and use of security forces' uniforms and vehicles by criminals. Near the border with South Sudan (in northern Uganda), the easy availability of weapons and the porous nature of the frontier drive higher crime risks. In June 2019, Ugandan authorities arrested five South Sudanese nationals (whose weapons included a sub-machine gun) in Amuru district who had crossed the border and attempted to extort money from nearby sugar plantation workers.

During 2017–18 more than 20 women were killed around Kampala following kidnappings (despite ransoms paid in some cases), and the police recorded 70 kidnappings nationally in the first five months of 2018. In August 2017, a 71-year-old German was shot dead during a house robbery near Jinja. In April 2019, a US tourist and her local guide were kidnapped by gunmen in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park, before being retrieved by Ugandan authorities five days later from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), likely after a ransom was paid. Eight suspects were subsequently arrested, with Ugandan authorities alleging their connection to a wider criminal network.

According to the Ugandan police's annual crime report for 2018, which covers the 12-month period from January to December, 238,746 criminal cases were registered, a 5% decrease from 2017's 252,065 cases, which in turn was a 3% increase from 243,988 cases in 2016. According to the 2018 report, compared with 2017, there was an "increase in homicide, sex related crimes, break-ins, robbery, political/media crimes and narcotic cases". Of the 238,746 cases in 2018, only 73,035 were taken to court by the end of the year and there was a backlog of 90,763 cases carried over into 2019. The highest crime rates were recorded in Lira, Mbarara, Arua, Ntungamo, Katwe Division, Mpigi, Mbale, and Gulu districts.

According to the 2017 report, homicide cases increased by almost 4% and theft cases by almost 53%, compared with 2016. Of the 252,065 cases recorded during 2017, only 66,626 were taken to court by the end of the year and a backlog of 105,017 cases were carried over into 2018. The highest crime rates recorded were in Lira, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Mpigi, Mbale, and Gulu districts, and in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Last update: June 20, 2019

War Risks

Military conflict with neighbouring states is unlikely. Sporadic violent incidents along the DRC-Ugandan border (particularly Lakes Albert and Edward) are probable, but are unlikely to escalate into wider conflict. Rwandan-Ugandan relations deteriorated during 2017, but the July 2019 Luanda summit (attended by pPresidents Kagame and Museveni) indicated an increased probability of relations improving. The risk of localised fighting between Ugandan and Rwandan forces will remain very low as long as they are not both deployed into eastern DRC. A successful coup attempt in Uganda is unlikely, but security services cohesion and efficacy are slowly worsening, affected by President Museveni's strategy of fostering security-services rivalries to prevent threats to his rule emerging.

Last update: August 8, 2019

Social Stability

High

Urban protests over local grievances are likely to be small and quickly suppressed by security forces, causing only minor cargo and travel disruption, and with major property damage unlikely. New mass anti-government demonstrations along the lines of the 2011 'Walk to Work' protests are unlikely without greater opposition unity. A May 2019 agreement between independent MP Robert Kyagulanyi's (alias "Bobi Wine") People Power movement and leading opposition Forum for Democratic Change figure Kizza Besigye has not yet resulted in joint rallies, which would indicate increasing protest risks. Protests are most likely in Kampala's Kamwokya, Kiseka Market, Namirembe, and Katwe neighbourhoods, and outlying areas; nearby Mpigi and Wakiso districts; and other towns.

Last update: June 20, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Much of the country is vulnerable to flooding during the two rainy seasons (normally from March to May and October to November). The northeast of the country is particularly susceptible to flooding and there is a high risk of landslides in Bulecheke sub-county of Bududa district.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Road infrastructure in the country is often in a state of disrepair and the country reports high rates of traffic fatalities. Never travel by car at night, except on the Kampala-Entebbe road (e.g. to the airport), and exercise caution when doing so during the day. There is a risk of being violently attacked by surrounding crowds following a road accident; after a collision, remain in your vehicle and drive to a police station to report the incident.

Police checkpoints are common and may be used to extort bribes.

Public transportation should be avoided, including Matatu minibus taxis and Boda Boda motorcycle taxis, which are frequently involved in serious, and often fatal, road collisions. Foreigners have frequently been mugged while using Boda Bodas.

In the past several years, there have been several fatal ferry accidents on Lake Albert and Lake Victoria. Travelers are advised to ensure that they are using a reputable ferry company and to not board a ferry that seems overloaded or unseaworthy.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Uganda is located in a tropical zone but its climate is relatively temperate due to its high elevation. The hot season lasts from December until January, with temperatures higher in the north than in the south. There are two rainy seasons, from March until May and again from October until December.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +256
Police: 999, 0414 342 222 or 0414 342 223
Fire Dept.: 999, 0414 342 222 or 0414 342 223
Ambulance: 999, 0414 342 222 or 0414 342 223

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019