View of Kampala, the capital of Uganda

Political situation A partner country that is committed to development

Since 1986, Uganda has been governed continuously by President Yoweri Museveni, who was confirmed in office most recently in 2021 (after disputed elections). The country plays a helpful role in regional peace initiatives. The government has launched significant reforms in the energy sector and in public financial management. The current Third National Development Plan is ambitious and forward-looking. However, its implementation is presenting the country with great challenges, not least because of the shortage of funding.

Governance and human rights

Uganda is a partner country with development-oriented policies and a good natural resource base, and there is a sound basis for sustainable economic development. The country's system is based on democracy and the rule of law. The constitution guarantees the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and independent parliamentary activity.

It must be said that in practice President Museveni is increasingly governing the country in an autocratic and repressive manner. The work of the political opposition is being obstructed, especially before elections, and the space for civil society activities is partly restricted. However, it is positive that the Uganda Human Rights Commission (which is supported by the BMZ) very actively plays its role of a monitoring and complaints body for human rights violations. Moreover, Parliament, the highest courts and the supreme audit institution (which is also supported by the BMZ) take their roles seriously and take care to act independently, thus strengthening the principle of the separation of powers. The media and civil society play an active part in the political debate.

Homosexuality has been banned in Uganda. A law to make relevant legislation even tighter was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2014. In 2019, the government rejected calls for stricter legislation, but in early 2023, Parliament took up these demands again. A bill passed by Parliament in March 2023 provided for drastic measures against homosexuality and LGBTQI+ persons. It met with harsh criticism from other countries, including Germany.

Criticism was also voiced within Uganda, mainly on legal grounds (with doubts being raised as to whether the bill was constitutional). At the request of the President, the Ugandan Parliament eliminated some of the particularly problematic parts from the bill in early May. However, observers continue to view the bill with great concern. The amended version has again been submitted to the President for approval.

Another challenge is posed by deficits in the area of anti-corruption. In the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, Uganda ranked 142nd out of the 180 countries evaluated in 2022. However, the government is pursuing efforts to address the issue. It has made a certain amount of progress on transparency and accountability, for example with regard to public financial management.

Refugee policy

Uganda has become the number one host country for refugees in East Africa. According to figures from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, some 1.5 million people have found refuge in Uganda.

Uganda's government pursues an extremely liberal policy: refugee status is accorded across the board to refugees from specific countries, including South Sudan; that is, they do not need to apply for asylum individually. They are granted right of residence and the right to work, and they are allowed to move freely throughout the country. In order to enable refugees to live as independently as possible, they are not housed in camps but in settlements. They receive a piece of land and are given access to education and health services.

However, Uganda's host communities are now stretched to breaking point – there is a shortage of available land, municipal infrastructure, and funding for food. All these things are needed if the newcomers are to integrate successfully in economic and social terms. The German Development Ministry therefore provides targeted support to host communities, thus also contributing towards conflict prevention. As long as host communities share the benefits of refugee assistance, for example in the areas of water and sanitation, energy, education, health, and job creation, they remain open for hosting and integrating refugees. This effect is particularly evident in Uganda.

As at: 05/05/2023