View of Kampala, the capital of Uganda

Uganda Renewable energy, climate action and economic potential in East Africa

In recent years, Uganda has evolved into a stabilising political force in East Africa. Within a region that has been one of the conflict hotspots of Africa and continues to experience armed conflict and large-scale displacement, Uganda is actively working for peace, security and regional cooperation. Uganda's economy, too, has developed soundly, in spite of considerable challenges such as widespread corruption and a high rate of population growth.

The Ugandan government is pursuing development-oriented policies. In the last two decades, it has been able to achieve visible results in reducing poverty. Notwithstanding these positive developments, Uganda is still considered a least developed country (LDC).

Uganda has become the number one host country for refugees in Africa, with some 1.4 million refugees staying in the country, of whom more than 880,000 came from South Sudan (as at end of January 2021). Uganda's government pursues a very generous policy on refugees, which is internationally considered to be exemplary. However, that policy is now reaching its limits, as host communities' capacity to provide food, shelter and basic services is nearly exhausted.

Development cooperation

Uganda is one of Germany's development cooperation partner countries, meaning that there is a programme of close cooperation based on intergovernmental agreements. Germany is one of the most important donors for this East African country.

German development cooperation focuses on the priority areas of agriculture/rural development and renewable energy/energy efficiency. The German Development Ministry (BMZ) also provides support to Uganda in the area of good governance and respect for human rights. Moreover, the BMZ pursues activities in Uganda as part of its special initiatives "ONE WORLD – No Hunger" and "Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees".

View of Kampala, the capital of Uganda

A partner country that is committed to development Internal link

Since 1986, Uganda has been governed continuously by President Yoweri Museveni. The country is considered a partner that is committed to reforms and to development.

Water supply in Kinsenyi, an informal settlement in Kampala

Development progress less effective due to population growth Internal link

Since the early 1990s, Uganda's social situation has improved a great deal. The government has been particularly successful in reducing poverty and cutting the rate of HIV infection.

A geranium farm in Kampala, Uganda

Attractive location for business Internal link

Compared with other countries in the region, Uganda is characterised by an economy that is very market-oriented and liberal. The country is considered an attractive location for private sector investment.

German development cooperation with Uganda

At the government negotiations in November 2018, the German government pledged a total of 79.5 million euros for development cooperation with Uganda in 2018 and 2019. In addition, Uganda is benefitting from funding under the BMZ special initiatives "ONE WORLD – No Hunger" (28 million euros) and "Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees" (30 million euros).

Bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:

  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency

Moreover, Germany provides support and advice to the Ugandan government in the area of good governance (reform of public financial management, human rights, civil society, anti-corruption). The BMZ also supports programmes in northern Uganda to assist refugees from South Sudan.

Vocational training and employment promotion

One cross-cutting issue that is addressed in all projects under Ugandan-German development cooperation is the promotion of employment. Based on close partnership with the private sector, the two sides work towards creating job opportunities for young people. Support is provided for practice-oriented vocational training, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and for start-up projects. There is a special focus on support for young women.

Onion fields on a hillside in southern Uganda

Increase productivity and create jobs Internal link

The main focus of cooperation in this priority area is on enhancing value addition in agricultural production. In northern Uganda in particular, impetus is to be lent to the growth of the rural economy. Increased productivity is to lead to sustained improvements in food and nutrition security and to the creation of new jobs in rural areas.

Soroti solar power plant in Uganda

Better services for households and businesses Internal link

Not least thanks to Germany's support, Uganda has made considerable progress in the field of power generation and with regard to the development of relevant institutions. There are still deficits in the area of grid development.

Other areas of cooperation Public financial management, human rights, civil society, displaced persons

Good governance

The German Development Ministry supports the Ugandan government in making public administration more transparent, meeting accountability requirements, increasing domestic revenue, and fighting corruption. In order to ensure that public funding is used efficiently and for the benefit of development, the BMZ supports the modernisation of Uganda's financial administration system and efforts to build the capacity of the supreme audit institution (SAI). The number of audits carried out by the SAI has already increased by more than 35 per cent.

Germany is increasing its activities in the field of governance in order to foster compliance with human rights standards and strengthen Uganda's civil society. The BMZ supports government institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that advocate for compliance with human rights standards, report on human rights violations and help victims to get access to justice. The BMZ also provides advice to the government on how to incorporate a human rights approach in national development planning.

Moreover, Germany is providing support so that local legal advice programmes can be expanded. Some 5.5 million people are now able to use a free telephone hotline to learn about their rights. In that context, digital tools are being deployed on a pilot basis, such as the verification of online video material on human rights violations, which is pursued in cooperation with civil society organisations. Furthermore, training is being provided for journalists in rural areas of Uganda based on cooperation with Deutsche Welle Akademie.

The BMZ also encourages the Ugandan government to engage more with civil society within the framework of national planning processes. The government has identified more than 180 organisations that could be partners for such endeavours, and has already made agreements to work together with 120 of them. Germany supports the development of new civil society networks at the district level. Minority rights play an important role in that context. The BMZ supports human rights defenders, including with regard to the human rights of gay, lesbian, intersex and transgender people.

Displacement

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the Rhino refugee settlement in Uganda in October 2017.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the Rhino refugee settlement in Uganda in October 2017.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the Rhino refugee settlement in Uganda in October 2017.

With about 30 million euros from its special initiative Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees, the BMZ has been supporting the work of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Uganda since 2016. Assistance is also provided through bilateral projects to support refugees from South Sudan and host communities in northern Uganda, with a focus on building municipal capacity in the fields of water and sanitation, education, and employment generation.

The target of the programmes is to provide 570,000 people with safe drinking water, to give 25,000 people access to education, and to help some 8,000 women and men to find jobs through training in vocational and business start-up skills. Moreover, 2,000 farmers' households in displaced people's settlements and host communities are to be enabled to increase their agricultural output by about 30 per cent by the end of 2022.