The Indian Association Uganda

Uganda at a glance

Facts about Uganda

Full name: Republic of Uganda
Population: 33.8 million (UN, 2010)
Capital: Kampala
Area: 241,038 sq km (93,072 sq miles)
Major languages: English (official), Swahili (official), Luganda, various Bantu and Nilotic languages
Major religions: Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 55 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Ugandan shilling = 100 cents
Main exports: Coffee, fish and fish products, tea; tobacco, cotton, corn, beans, sesame
GNI per capita: US $500 (World Bank, 2010)
Internet domain: .ug
International dialling code: +256


Since the late 1980s Uganda has rebounded from the abyss of civil war and economic catastrophe to become relatively peaceful, stable and prosperous.

But the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the north remain blighted by one of Africa's most brutal rebellions.

In the 1970s and 1980s Uganda was notorious for its human rights abuses, first during the military dictatorship of Idi Amin from 1971-79 and then after the return to power of Milton Obote, who had been ousted by Amin.

During this time up to half a million people were killed in state-sponsored violence.

Since becoming president in 1986 Yoweri Museveni has introduced democratic reforms and has been credited with substantially improving human rights, notably by reducing abuses by the army and the police.
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In addition, Western-backed economic reforms produced solid growth and falls in inflation in the 1990s. However, Mr Museveni has bemoaned his country's failure to industrialise.

The discovery of oil and gas in the west of the country have boosted confidence in the economy.

The president came under fire for Uganda's military involvement, along with five other countries, in neighbouring DR Congo's 1998-2003 civil war. DR Congo accuses Uganda of maintaining its influence in the mineral-rich east of the country. Uganda says DR Congo has failed to disarm Ugandan rebels on its soil.

The cult-like Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has rampaged across northern Uganda for the past two decades and has in recent years spread to neighbouring countries, abducting and killng tens of thousands as well as displacing more than 1.5 million. It has been described as one of the most effective guerrilla armies in Africa.

Its leader Joseph Kony says he wants to run the country along the lines of the biblical Ten Commandments, and is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Some critics have wondered why the conflict has gone on for so long, and others have questioned Mr Museveni's commitment to ending the insurgency.

Uganda has won praise for its vigorous campaign against HIV/Aids. This has helped to reduce the prevalence of the virus - which reached 30% in the 1990s - to single-digit figures.


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