Welcome to Uganda: a land with heartwarming people filled with hospitable gestures towards anybody that finds their way into this magical land. Indeed for so much, many refer to Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa” an endearment that was first coined by Sir Winston Churchill in 1907, when overwhelmed by the country’s scenic wonders and lush beauty.
Located in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa, Uganda covers 197,100 square kilometers of land and 43,938 square kilometers of water, making it the 81st largest nation in the world with a total area of 241,038 square kilometers. The total population currently is 41,659,070 (UBOS 2017). The country’s tropical climate has temperatures ranging from 21-25°C (70- 77°F), apart from the mountainous areas which are much cooler. Although the country is astride the Equator, it enjoys pleasant weather moderated by big water bodies such as Lake Victoria and high range mountains like the Mountains of the Moon (the Rwenzoris) in the western region and the Elgons in the east.
Governance: Beginning in 1894, Uganda was ruled as a protectorate by the British. The country gained her independence from Britain on 9th October 1962. Since then, there have been intermittent conflicts, including a lengthy civil war in the northern region, which lasted for over 20 years. The conflicts have had a negative impact on the human development index and the country’s natural resource base. Currently, the entire country is peaceful and social, economic and political strategies have been put in place to spur sustainable development.
Economy: The country has large untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas. The country’s list of mineral resources include; Copper, Cobalt, Tin, Phosphates, Vermiculite, Diamond, Gold, Petroleum, Chronite, Magnetite, Uranium, Iron ore, among others. The favorable soil conditions and climate have contributed to the country's agricultural success. Most areas of Uganda have usually received sufficient rainfall. Temperatures vary only a few degrees above or below 20 °C but are moderated by differences in altitude.
Challenges: The growth of the country’s economy is hampered by poor infrastructure and lack of cheap and reliable power supply. Lack of finance is an additional problem. Uganda's climate is naturally variable; however of late due to climate change and variability, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods have increased, leading to negative socioeconomic and environmental impacts.
Land degradation in Uganda is a serious problem, however through government programs under the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) through projects such as the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project, more sustainable development and improvement is being done to control soil erosion and soil fertility depletion which are the main land degradation problems in Uganda.
Opportunities: Uganda is rich in natural resources and most of them have not been fully exploited, e.g. the discovered petroleum wells in the Albertine region in western Uganda. Thanks to Uganda’s favorable climate and relatively good soils, the agricultural sector [including crop production, livestock, fisheries, and forestry] holds huge potential.
There are several scenic wonders across the country, from the breathtaking hills in southwestern Uganda through the rolling hills of the Ankole region and the lush green valleys and shining waters of Lake Victoria in the central to the beautiful mosaic savannahs of northern and northeastern Uganda. Beneath the ground is another world of beauty and richness, the source of the country’s agricultural and environmental endowments – the soil. Our land and soil resources are the roots of the wealth and heritage of the Nation.