GENDER BRIEFING – UGANDA
Despite a history of political upheaval and violent conflicts, Uganda has enjoyed relative peace and stability since 2006 due to the reinstatement of multi-party democracy, a strong constitution that protects women’s human rights, and an end to two decades of conflict in Northern Uganda. Though still below the 7.2% target set in the first National Development Plan, economic growth averaged 5.5% between 2010/11 and 2013/14. The number of people living in poverty fell from 56% in 1992 to 24.5% in 2011, and further fell to 19.7% in 2013. However, economic growth has been uneven, as has its impact on poverty, as shown by the persistence of significant regional disparities, notwithstanding an overall improvement in the Gini coefficient measuring inequality from 0.426 in 2009/10 to 0.395 in 2012/13 (UBOS 2014 b). Overall poverty is lower but significant regional disparities persist.
While Uganda has made impressive gains in reducing the overall level of poverty, these have been limited to central and western regions, and marked regional disparities persist. Poverty rates remain high and relatively stagnant for the Eastern and Northern regions. This has been attributed in part to conflicts that engulfed those regions for much of the 1980s and 1990s. Nevertheless, poverty in East Central (Busoga) and the rest of the Eastern region remains entrenched, even though these areas have been largely peaceful over the last 30 years. Rural areas lag behind, especially in terms of employment and human development outcomes. Karamoja sub-region is the most economically disadvantaged area. 65% of its population lives below the poverty line. Ranking 110 out of 148 countries assessed, Uganda has a high gender inequality index (0.517) as measured by maternal
mortality, adolescent fertility rates, and empowerment and economic activity.