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Uganda

Map and Basic Facts about Uganda

Location:
Eastern Africa, west of Kenya.

Land Boundaries:
Democratic Republic of the Congo 765 km, Kenya 933 km, Rwanda 169 km, Sudan 435 km and Tanzania 396 km.

Geography:
Size 236,040 sq km, slightly smaller than Oregon, US. Uganda is a landlocked country. The terrain is mostly plateau with a rim of mountains. Its highest point is Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley which stands at 5,110 m. Uganda's lowest point is Lake Albert at 621 m. The climate is tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August). The northeast of Uganda is semi-arid and therefore drier. The country is generally very fertile with many lakes and rivers.

Population:
Just over 27 million people live in Uganda. Life expectancy is around 51 years. Birth rate is on average 6.7 per woman. 4.1% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS. Literacy rate is just under 70%.

Languages:
English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, and Arabic.

Ethnic Groups:
Baganda 17%, Ankole 8%, Basoga 8%, Iteso 8%, Bakiga 7%, Langi 6%, Rwanda 6%, Bagisu 5%, Acholi 4%, Lugbara 4%, Batoro 3%, Bunyoro 3%, Alur 2%, Bagwere 2%, Bakonjo 2%, Jopodhola 2%, Karamojong 2%, Rundi 2%, non-African (European, Asian, Arab) 1%, other 8%.

Religion:
Roman Catholic 33%, Protestant 33%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 18%.

Political History:
Uganda achieved independence from the UK in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi Amin (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. During the 1990s, the government promulgated non-party presidential and legislative elections.

Economic Overview:
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1986, the government - with the support of foreign countries and international agencies - has acted to rehabilitate and stabilize the economy by undertaking currency reform, raising producer prices on export crops, increasing prices of petroleum products, and improving civil service wages. The policy changes are especially aimed at dampening inflation and boosting production and export earnings. During 1990-2001, the economy turned in a solid performance based on continued investment in the rehabilitation of infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, reduced inflation, gradually improved domestic security, and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs. Corruption within the government and slippage in the government's determination to press reforms raise doubts about the continuation of strong growth. In 2000, Uganda qualified for enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. Growth for 2001-02 was solid despite continued decline in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export. Solid growth in 2003-04 reflected an upturn in Uganda's export markets.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Further Reading:
Uganda: A Photo Tour
Uganda: Travel Links
A Guide to Gorilla Safaris
Safari Planner
Tips for a Successful Safari
How to Avoid Malaria

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