Uganda

Nation’s profile: Officially known as the Republic of Uganda, the country is a landlocked country bordering Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, the DR Congo and Tanzania; with an area covering 241 thousand square kilometers. The southern part of the country includes a substantial part of Lake Victoria and Uganda also lies within the Nile basin.

The ancestors of the Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until ca. 2000 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern part of the country. Uganda derives its name from the Buganda kingdom, one of several kingdoms and dynasties throughout its history. Arabs arrived in the 1830s and British in the 1860s. By 1894, the British established administrative laws across the territory by creating a protectorate. Uganda eventually gained independence in 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts (e.g. under Idi Amin), lengthy civil and guerrilla wars (e.g. against the Lord’s Resistance Army) with several hundreds of thousands of casualties. With the rule of Yoweri Museveni since 1986, Uganda has experienced relative stability and economic growth. The constitutional referendum in 2005 revoked a 19-year ban on multi-party politics and lifted presidential term limits. Indicators of a plan for succession by the president's son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, have increased tensions. In general, Yoweri Museveni maintains a firm grip on power, though the authorities' lackluster commitment to democratic reform might fuel anti-government sentiment. The fiscal balance will remain firmly in deficit owing to high spending on infrastructure, while the structural dependence on imports will persist. It is expected that growth remains relatively robust over the medium-term, spurred by large capital-intensive projects but held back by a bureaucratic operating environment for businesses.

A prevailing problem in Uganda remains the high level of corruption. While the country has put emphasis on campaigns against HIV/AIDS, it has also attracted international attention for its hardening stance against the LGBTIQ community (e.g. anti-gay bills).

The country is divided into 112 districts and subdivided into 181 counties. Political subdivisions in Uganda are officially served and united by the Uganda Local Governments Association (ULGA), a voluntary and non-profit body which also serves as a forum for support and guidance for Ugandan sub-national governments. Parallel with the state administration, 5 traditional Bantu kingdoms have remained, enjoying some degrees of cultural autonomy and are much respected within the population. Several other kingdoms and chiefdoms are also officially recognized by the government.

Climate: Uganda has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate. Weather is usually tropical (average temperature ca. 26 degrees). There are two rainy seasons in the year; the first runs from March till May and the second from September till November.

People: The population is estimated at 41.1 million (2016 est.).

Language: English and Swahili are the official languages, whereby de facto the latter is hardly spoken. The most important languages besides English are Luganda, Luo, Iteso, Lusuga und Rwanyankole.

Time zone: Uganda is located in the GMT + 3 time zone.

Working hours: Government office hours are usually 8:00 am to 15:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Private sector working hours are usually 8:00 am – 12:45 am and 14:00 – 17:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Shops are usually open from 8.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, although some shops close early on Saturday and remain closed on Sunday. Supermarkets and shopping malls in the city center are oftentimes open 7 days a week. Islamic holidays apply to government institutions, oftentimes not to private sector though.

Economy: Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, usually regular rainfall, small deposits of copper, gold, and other minerals, and recently discovered oil. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing more than one-third of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Uganda’s economy remains agricultural with a small industrial sector that is dependent on imported inputs like oil and equipment. Overall productivity is hampered by a number of supply-side constraints, including underinvestment in an agricultural sector that continues to rely on rudimentary technology, as well as weather dependency (e.g. severe droughts). Industrial growth is impeded by high-costs due to poor infrastructure, low levels of private investment, and the depreciation of the Ugandan shilling. Further challenges include regional instability, high energy costs, inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure, insufficient budgetary discipline, and corruption.

GDP: $ 25.52 billion (2016 est.).

GDP per Capita: $ 10,150.788 (2016 est.).

GDP growth rate: 4.6 % (2016 est.).

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (2016): Agriculture 24.5%, Industry 21%, Other 54.4%

Agriculture products: Coffee, Tea, Tabacco, Cassava, Potatoes, Corn, Millet, Pulses, Cut Flowers, Beef, Goat Meat, Milk, Poultry and Fish

Industries: Sugar, Brewing, Tobacco, Cotton Textiles, Cement, Steel Production

Export commodities: Coffee, Fish and fish products, Tea, Cotton, Flowers, Horticultural Products, Gold

Import commodities: Capital Equipment, Vehicles, Petroleum, Medical Supplies, Cereals

Exports-earning: $ 2.723 billion (2016 est.).

Imports-expense: $ 4.677 billion (2016 est.).

Inflation rate: 5.5% (2016 est.).

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $ 2.851 billion (2016 est.).

Exchange rates – (National Bank of Uganda): Ugandan currency: Uganda Shilling - UGX

UGX per EUR - 4,292

UGX per USD - 3,603

Business Etiquette: Ugandan business is built upon consensus and good relationships. Most meetings begin with introductions, describing the participants’ business backgrounds and families so all parties are comfortable working with each other. Therefore, business transactions take time as the parties build their relationships.

  • Use of titles: Unless you are invited to do otherwise, always use the last name with the honorific title (Engineer, Doctor) and address government officials (Ministers, State Ministers…) as “Honorable” or “Your Excellency” without using their name.
  • Business cards: are given without any formal ritual.
  • Greetings: formal and courteous with handshakes combined with direct eye contact. Men should wait for women to extend their hand. If a woman doesn’t extend her hand, males can nod their head or bow.
  • Agenda: Do not expect to go by the agenda of the meeting as schedules are not very rigid in Uganda. An agenda is only a guideline for the discussion and a springboard to other related business topics. It is considered more important to complete the meeting agreeably than to meet the scheduled start or ending time.
  • Few other tips: Arrive on time though you might end up waiting. Allow the host to start the conversation. When refreshments are offered during meetings try to not refuse. Dress formal. Acknowledge religious backgrounds (Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol, Hindus are often vegetarians).  Avoid conversation topics such as religion, personal ideology and politics where possible.

Few Vocabulary (Luganda)

 

Good afternoon

Osiibye otya?

How are you doing?

Oli otya? (singular)/ Muli mutya (plural)?

Fine, thank you

Bulungi/ Gyendi

What is your name?

Erinnya lyo ggwe ani?

I am….

Ndi…..

Sir

Ssebo

Madam

Nnyabo

Yes

Iye

No

Nedda

Please

Mwattu

Thank you (very much)

Webale (nyo)

Good bye

Weelaba

Good morning

Wasuze otya?

Good night

Sula bulungi

Coffee

kahawa

Tea

chai

Water

Amazi

Do you speak English?

Omanyi olungereza?

Pardon?

Wangi?

Good bye

Weelaba

Pardon?

Wangi?

How much is it?

Sente mekka?

What time is it?

Sawa mekka?

 

 

 

Contact

Mr. Chris Wegner

Regional Coordinator Eastern Africa

+254 20 6633 106
+254 716 160 801
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