All Country Facts

Republic of Uganda

By Public Opinions | Web:www.publicopinions.net| Tel:+256701992426

Uganda is a landlocked country bordered by Kenya in the east, Sudan in the north, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south.

Uganda’s total land area is 241,559 sq km. About 37,000 sq km of this area is occupied by open water while the rest is land. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which it shares with Kenya and Tanzania.

Uganda is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1,100 meters (3,609 ft) above sea level. The plateau generally slopes downwards towards Sudan explaining the northerly tendency of most river flows in the country. Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform since the altitude modifies the climate.

Uganda’s elevation, soil types and predominantly warm and wet climate impart a huge agricultural potential to the country. They also explain the country’s large variety of forests, grasslands and wildlife reserves. Uganda has a total population of about 32 million people.

Ugandan People

Over 80 per cent of the population live in rural areas and directly survive off the environment and natural resource base.

Population:  Uganda’s population has continued to grow rapidly over time. It increased from 9.5 million in 1969 to 24.2 million in 2002. Between 1991 and 2002, the population growth rate was 3.2 percent. The population is projected to have increased to 32.9 million by mid 2011

Ethnic groups: Baganda, Banyankole, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Karamojong, Basoga, Bagisu, and others.The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and comprise approximately 17% of the population.

Religions: Christian, Muslim, others.

Languages: English (official), Swahili (official), Luganda, and numerous other local languages.

Climate

Uganda’s weather conditions are ideal, ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas to the coolness of the highlands in the South West Kigezi.

For most of the year, Uganda is sunny with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees. The average temperature is about 26 degrees C, with a maximum of 18-31 degrees and minimum of 15-23 degrees depending on the part of the country.

The rain season is March-May. Light rain season is November and December. Wet seasons are March –May and October-November; dry seasons are December to February and June to August.

Rainfall ranges between 500mm to 2500 mm and the relative humidity is 70 - 100%. The rainfall regime allows two planting and harvesting seasons a year in most parts of the country, without the use of irrigation.

About 34% of the country is covered in wetlands with a dense network of rivers, lakes and swamps.
Generally, the country is endowed with fertile soils. Uganda has some of the largest lakes on the continent including Lake Albert and Lake Victoria

Politics

Uganda is a presidential republic, in which the President of Uganda is both head of State and head of Government; there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system with universal suffrage for all citizens over 18 years of age.

In a measure ostensibly designed to reduce sectarian violence, political parties were restricted in their activities from 1986. In the non-party "Movement" system instituted by the current president Yoweri Museveni, political parties continued to exist but could not campaign in elections or field candidates directly (although electoral candidates could belong to political parties). A constitutional referendum cancelled this 19-year ban on multi-party politics in July 2005. General elections are held every five years.

The Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: it was ratified in July 12, 1995 and promulgated October 8, 1995.

Branches: Executive--president, vice president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--parliament. Judicial--Magistrates' Courts, High Court, Court of Appeals (Constitutional Court), Supreme Court.

Political parties: 38 registered parties. Major political parties include the National Resistance Movement (NRM, the ruling party), Forum for a Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), Conservative Party (CP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), among others.

National holiday: Independence Day, October 9.

The 1995 Constitution established Uganda as a republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The constitution provides for an executive president, to be elected every 5 years. President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2001, 2006, and 2011. Legislative responsibility is vested in the parliament; legislative elections are held every 5 years. Because of redistricting, the parliament elected in February 2011 grew from 332 to 375 members, including 112 special seats for women, 10 special seats for military, five for youth, and five for persons with disabilities. The Ugandan judiciary operates as an independent branch of government and consists of the Magistrates Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal (which also sits as the Constitutional Court when required) and the Supreme Court.

Economy

Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation and adopted policies that have promoted rapid economic development

Uganda suffered political turmoil and devastating economic drawbacks between 1971 and 1986. This extended period of regression left Uganda as one of the world’s poorest countries. Under Museveni's leadership the country initiated a broad range of economic reforms including the notable liberalisation of market prices and privatisation of public enterprises. These reforms have improved economic performance and sustained economic growth at an average of 7% per annum for the last ten years.

Bank Of Uganda

Bank of Uganda (BoU) is the Central Bank of the Republic of Uganda. The primary purpose of the Bank is to foster price stability and a sound financial system. Together with other institutions, it also plays a pivotal role in upholding international best practice in creating a conducive environment for macro-economic stability

Ministry Of Finance

The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development derives its mandate and functions from the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and other related subordinate laws, including; the Budget Act (2001), the Public Finance and Accountability Act (2003) and acts establishing agencies and auxiliary organizations. Accordingly, the Ministry plays a pivotal role in the co-ordination of development planning; mobilisation of public resources; and ensuring effective accountability for the use of such resources for the benefit of all Ugandans.

Investment And Trade

Uganda Investment Authority

The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is a semi-autonomous government agency operating in partnership with the private sector and Government of Uganda to drive national economic growth and development. The Authority was setup by an Act of Parliament (Investment Code 1991, which was later revised to the Edition 2000 Laws of Uganda) with the aim of promoting and facilitating private sector investment in Uganda.

Chamber Of Commerce

The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) was set up in 1933. It is the oldest and largest nation-wide umbrella organization of the private sector in Uganda. UNCCI was formed as a private sector body and has grown to become a vibrant and credible business association, owned by members from the Ugandan business community. It was formally registered in 1978 as a company limited by guarantee without share capital. UNCCI enjoys a diverse membership and nationwide outreach with its 10 regional and over 80 district branches and draws its membership from the entire private sector, particularly the sectors of ; tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, construction, import- export, transport, financial services, Small and Medium Enterprises etc.

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives

The Ministry was formed out of a merger of the Ministries of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Technology. The mandate of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) is derived from the Constitution under the Sixth Schedule Article 189, which provides functions and services for which government is responsible and the mandate of the MTTI is covered under sections 6, 8,10,11,20 and 23; and the National Objectives and Directive Policy of State contained in XIII - Protection of Natural Resources and XIV - General Social and Economic Functions.

Foreign Relations

The Ugandan Government generally seeks good relations with other nations without reference to ideological orientation. Uganda's relations with Rwanda,D.R.C. and Sudan have sometimes been strained because of security concerns. Uganda, D.R.C., Rwanda, and Burundi participated in the U.S.-facilitated Tripartite Plus process, which helped ease tensions and contributed to increased bilateral contacts with the aim of resolving conflicts between the neighbors. Uganda has over 4,000 peacekeepers in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Bilateral relations between the United States and Uganda have been good since Museveni assumed power, and the United States welcomed Museveni’s efforts to end human rights abuses and to pursue economic reform.

Uganda is a member of the UN, the Commonwealth of States, and several related agencies, and is a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It also belongs to the Non-aligned Movement, the Group of 77, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Uganda welcomes diplomatic relations with all nations, regardless of ideology.

Uganda is a member of the World Trade Organistion (WTO), COMESA, East African Community (EAC)

Tourism

Wondering why it is called 'The Pearl of Africa'? Where else can you see lions prowling across the open savanna as day breaks before white water rafting down the Nile; then the next day set off into the misty mountains in search of the majestic mountain gorillas before settling in to watch a local cultural evening around the camp fire?

Uganda has been ranked the number one destination for tourists for the year 2012 by Lonely Planet which is the largest travel guide and media publisher in the world.

The following week, Qatar Airways, a member of the five star alliance, announced that it would be launching a service to Uganda's international hub, Entebbe Airport.

Uganda Tourism Board

Uganda Tourism Board has served the country in ensuring the success and growth of tourism in Uganda for over 15 years. This has been in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry since its inception. The world over, the board is marketing and promoting the Pearl of Africa, its true nature, culture, wildlife, accommodation, and hospitality all packed in a country that is "Gifted by Nature".

More about tourism visit: www.visituganda.com

 

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Rwanda

Rwanda officially the Republic of Rwanda is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people and are often considered descendants of Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations.

Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages.

The sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries.The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.

In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in a state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed over 800,000 of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population. The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and established an RPF-led government of national unity. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in late 2009. President Paul KAGAME won the presidential election in August 2017 after changing the constitution in 2016 to allow him to run for a third term.

Rwanda’s fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government’s commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda’s birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families’ ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation.

The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR’s decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with agriculture accounting for about 63% of export earnings, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but, with the exception of the capital Kigali, is not concentrated in large cities – its 12 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (smaller than the state of Maryland). Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth.

The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy well beyond pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 6%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006.

The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment. Rwanda consistently ranks well for ease of doing business and transparency.

The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies and aims to reach middle-income status by 2020 by leveraging the service industry. In 2012, Rwanda completed the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. In 2016, the government launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.

 

REPUBLIC OF SURINAME

SURINAME REPUBLIC

Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America. It's defined by vast swaths of tropical rainforest, Dutch colonial architecture and a melting-pot culture. On its Atlantic coast is the capital, Paramaribo, where palm gardens grow near Fort Zeelandia, a 17th-century trading post. Paramaribo is also home to Saint Peter and Paul Basilica, a towering wood cathedral consecrated in 1885. Suriname is the smallest country in South America. ... Additionally, Suriname is frequently considered part of the insular Caribbean (Girvan 2005). The latter consideration implies a geographical paradox that is twofold. In fact, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana are not directly bordered by the Caribbean Sea

First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in 1667. With the abolition of African slavery in 1863, workers were brought in from India and Java. The Netherlands granted the colony independence in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared Suriname a socialist republic. It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but a democratically elected government - a four-party coalition - returned to power in 1991. The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire BOUTERSE and his opposition coalition to power.

President BOUTERSE was reelected unopposed in 2015

ECONOMY OF SURINAME

Suriname’s economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of oil and gold accounting for approximately 85% of exports and 27% of government revenues. This makes the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. The worldwide drop in international commodity prices and the cessation of alumina mining in Suriname significantly reduced government revenue and national income during the past few years. In November 2015, a major US aluminum company discontinued its mining activities in Suriname after 99 years of operation. Public sector revenues fell, together with exports, international reserves, employment, and private sector investment.

Economic growth declined annually from just under 5% in 2012 to -10.4% in 2016. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. Suriname began instituting macro adjustments between September 2015 and 2016; these included another 20% currency devaluation in November 2015 and foreign currency interventions by the Central Bank until March 2016, after which time the Bank allowed the Surinamese dollar (SRD) to float. By December 2016, the SRD had lost 46% of its value against the dollar. Depreciation of the Surinamese dollar and increases in tariffs on electricity caused domestic prices in Suriname to rise 22.0% year-over-year by December 2017.

Suriname's economic prospects for the medium-term will depend on its commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and on the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition.

The government's over-reliance on revenue from the extractive sector colors Suriname's economic outlook. Following two years of recession, the Fitch Credit Bureau reported a positive growth of 1.2% in 2017 and the World Bank predicted 2.2% growth in 2018. Inflation declined to 9%, down from 55% in 2016 , and increased gold production helped lift exports. Yet continued budget imbalances and a heavy debt and interest burden resulted in a debt-to-GDP ratio of 83% in September 2017.

Purchasing power has fallen rapidly due to the devalued local currency. The government has announced its intention to pass legislation to introduce a new value-added tax in 2018. Without this and other measures to strengthen the country’s fiscal position, the government may face liquidity pressures

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