The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa surrounded by Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. It is situated within the Nile basin on the northern shore of Lake Victoria and has a varied equatorial climate. Beginning in 1894, the British ruled the area as a Protectorate, establishing its administrative laws and practices, until Uganda gained its independence in 1962. The country’s official languages are English and Swahili, although Luganda, the central native language, is still widely spoken. Uganda has a significant overpopulation problem, growing from 9.5 million people in 1969 to 39 million today and straining the country’s resources. Uganda’s birth rate is among the highest in the world, averaging 5.8 births per woman, while Uganda’s median age of 15 years is the lowest in the world. Of the population, 85% are Christian and 12% Muslim, co-existing in a peaceful, integrated society.
Uganda’s agricultural resources provide subsistence-level food production for most of its population. The equatorial climate, combined with fertile soil and ample rainfall, allows three crops to be grown annually. Coffee is the country’s largest export commodity. The rural population are able to eke out a living by farming a small piece of “spare” land that can keep a family near the poverty line. Ugandans operate in a cash economy with limited credit sources. Most have access to mobile phones for communications and banking/financial transactions, since the country’s limited mail service only exists in cities.
Uganda made steady progress in many areas in recent years. The poverty rate has dropped from 56% of the population in 1992 to less than 25% today. The incidence of AIDS has been reduced from 30% of the population in the 1980s to 7% today. Meanwhile, gross domestic product grew at 5% in 2015 and 4.6% in 2016.