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. The country is considered a partner that is committed to reforms and to development.

It has been playing a positive role in regional peace initiatives, for instance in South Sudan and Somalia. The government has launched significant reforms in the energy sector and in public financial management. It is a leader when it comes to implementing the global goals of the 2030 Agenda and of the Paris Agreement.

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 continuous improvement of the economic environment. There is also a positive environment in terms of democracy and the rule of law.
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. At the end of 2019, the government strongly rejected calls for stricter legislation that had been raised in individual instances. Human rights defenders who also work for the rights for sexual minorities are confronted with challenges in their work, all the way to cases of assault. Germany is providing strong support in this field.

Deficits in the area of anti-corruption pose a challenge. In the Corruption Perceptions Index (External link) compiled by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, Uganda ranked 142nd out of the 180 countries evaluated in 2020. However, the government is pursuing ambitious efforts to address the issue. It has made good progress on transparency and accountability, for example with regard to public financial management.

Refugee policy

Since the renewed escalation of violence in South Sudan in 2016, Uganda has become the country with the largest number of refugees in East Africa. According to figures from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, some 1.4 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. 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, food, and municipal infrastructure. 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, for example in the areas of water and sanitation, energy, education, health, and job creation, thus also contributing towards conflict prevention.