What to make of these Ugandan stats

29 Dec

By Stephen Twinoburyo

I selected the following Ugandan stats in brief to have a look at. There are a lot more stats on the link given at the bottom that you can look at and interpret on your own.

The figures in the brackets are for Kenya for comparison

    Position in the world
Population growth rate 3.563% (2.588%) 2 (27)
Birth rate 47.55 births/1000 (35.14) 2 (34)
Urban populations Approx 14%  (24%)  
Infant mortality rate 63.7 deaths/1000 (53.49) 29 (44)
Life expectancy 52.98 (58.82) 205 (190)
Education expenditure 3.3% of GDP  (7%) 139 (21)
GDP/Capita $1200 ($1,600) 208 (200)
Military expenditure 2.2 % of GDP (2.8%) 67 (51)

Median age: 15.1 years, second to Gaza.

Labour force by occupation:

agriculture: 82%

industry: 5%

services: 13%


Export partners:

Sudan 13.47%, Kenya 8.98%, UAE 7.52%, Rwanda 7.5%, Switzerland 7.42%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.85%, Netherlands 5.67%, Belgium 5.66%, Germany 5.18%, Italy 4.33%

Import partners:

Kenya 13.9%, India 12.79%, UAE 11.16%, China 8.91%, South Africa 5.08%, France 4.6%, Japan 4.37%, US 4.07% (2009)


I find the above stats very interesting and they can gives pointers to some of the things the present or future government ought to pay attention to.

There is a need to curb population growth. Half of Uganda’s population is below 15 years of age and 98% of the population is below 66 years. What will happen when this population goes into retirement? Who will be working for them?

Most of our population is rural. Rural populations are generally poor and mainly agricultural. As the S African example shows, we don’t need a large labour force to have effective agriculture. Instead this labour force should be in the manufacturing and the services sectors.

Our life expectancy can only be improved by better health facilities and higher standards of living.

While there is universal primary education, our expenditure on education as a percentage of our GDP is very low meaning that we are giving a poor quality of education or we are providing education without facilities. Given that 50% of the population is below 15 years of age, implying they fall under UPE/USE and looking at our low GDP and high population, the expenditure per child must be extremely low. Look at the comparison with Kenya.

It is difficult to say much about the military expenditure considering what the expenditure is for. Kenya is spending more of its GDP on military but that may be because they are providing better quality for their soldiers and purchasing more sophiscated equipment. This needs more analysis but I don’t think this expenditure is alarmingly high.

I have also heard people say that our industries have grown more than Kenya but looking at the trade flows and seeing that the net flow of goods is from Kenya, this assertion is greatly disputed and indeed does not stand.

I will gather more stats and figures and we analyse them to help know our position as well as shape our direction.

These are just my thoughts and of course anybody can interpret these stats differently.

Source: CIA Fact Book


Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


3 responses to “What to make of these Ugandan stats

  1. Stephen

    December 30, 2010 at 10:03

    Thank you for the analysis. However, I have a problem with your statement that ‘There is a need to curb population growth. Half of Uganda’s population is below 15 years of age and 98% of the population is below 66 years. What will happen when this population goes into retirement? Who will be working for them?’
    -This appears to assume that the cohort below 15 will not grow any older.
    -The majority are engaged in agriculture where children start working before they are even 10 years!

  2. James

    January 25, 2011 at 20:24

    Could it be true that in Uganda military expenditure is 2.2% (far below that of Education)of the GDP. This makes me doubt the authenticity of the stats even before I comment.

  3. Twino Speaks

    January 25, 2011 at 21:42

    James, I hope this will help explain something:

    Defence budget (Uganda), Defence budget

    Publication date
    Jun 15, 2010

    Defence spending trends:

    Since re-invigorating its campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel movement in northern and eastern Uganda in 2002, Uganda has sought to boost official defence spending substantially. This has provoked tensions with donors, with whom Kampala had previously agreed to a 2 per cent of GDP ceiling on military expenditure. Such issues have held up the passing of recent budgets despite the support of much of parliament for higher spending. Moreover, operational and personnel requirements continue to amount to more than 90 per cent of defence budgets, leaving little money for badly needed overhaul and modernisation programmes.The Ugandan government announced in October 2003 that it was to cut expenditure of various government ministries and departments and re-allocate more funds to the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) over the next two years. The World Bank said that donors were “disappointed at the scale and justification given” for the Ugandan government’s proposed 2003/2004 defence budget, which was higher than the previously agreed figure. The government proposed increasing defence spending by UGX62 billion (USD30 million) to total UGX323 billion. Donors again challenged the 2004/2005 allocation, which represented about a 14 per cent rise over the previous year’s controversial spending programme, which brought defence spending to nearer 3 per cent of GDP. Donors were particularly unimpressed by an official audit in early 2004 that showed that the UPDF was up to 20 per cent below its authorised strength due to corruption of officers claiming the pay of over 10,000 “ghost soldiers”. The UPDF’s.

    In short, 2.2% is a donor requirement. I read in another military review that Uganda hides a lot of its military budget in other ministries where money is allocated but can be diverted later. They can also put the financing of some components of the army – for instance medical treatment – under a different ministry (e.g health) so that it does not fall under the military budget hence maintaining that low percentage. The off-budget method is commonly used to hide military expenditure.


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