The Republic of Uganda is a country in east central Africa. It is bordered in the east by Kenya, in the north by Sudan, by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania.
Main article: History of Uganda
Little is known about the history of the region until the arrival of the first non-Africans, although humans are known to have lived at least since the first millennium BC. When Arabs and Europeans arrived in the 19th century, they encountered a number of kingdoms in the area, supposedly founded in the 16th century. The largest and most important of these kingdoms was the still-existing Buganda.
The area was placed under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888, and became a protectorate under the United Kingdom in 1894. Uganda was granted independence in 1962.
A 1971 coup saw Idi Amin take power, ruling as a dictator for the coming decade. His rule cost an estimated 300,000 Ugandans' lives. His reign was ended by a Tanzanian invasion in 1979. The situation improved little with the coming of Milton Obote, who was deposed in 1985, although rebels continued to fight long afterwards. Current president Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986.
Main article: Politics of Uganda
The president, currently Yoweri Museveni is both head of state and head of government. The president appoints a prime minister, who aids him in his tasks. The parliament is formed by the National Assembly, which has 303 members. 81 of these members are nominated by interest groups, including women and the Ugandan army. The remaining members are elected for five-year terms during general elections.
Main article: Districts of Uganda
Uganda is divided into 56 districts, listed below. The districts are all named after their chief town.
Map of Uganda
Main article: Geography of Uganda
Although landlocked, Uganda has access to several large water bodies, including Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga and Lake Edward. The country is located on a plateau, averaging about 900 m above sea level. Although generally tropical in nature, the climate differs between parts of the country.
Most important cities are located in the south, near Lake Victoria, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe.
Main article: Economy of Uganda
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1986, the government - with the support of foreign countries and international agencies - has acted to rehabilitate and stabilize the economy by undertaking currency reform, raising producer prices on export crops, increasing prices of petroleum products, and improving civil service wages. The policy changes are especially aimed at dampening inflation and boosting production and export earnings. During 1990-2001, the economy turned in a solid performance based on continued investment in the rehabilitation of infrastructure, improved incentives for production and exports, reduced inflation, gradually improved domestic security, and the return of exiled Indian-Ugandan entrepreneurs. Ongoing Ugandan involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, corruption within the government, and slippage in the government's determination to press reforms raise doubts about the continuation of strong growth. In 2000, Uganda qualified for enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief worth $1.3 billion and Paris Club debt relief worth $145 million. These amounts combined with the original HIPC debt relief added up to about $2 billion. Growth for 2001-02 was solid despite continued decline in the price of coffee, Uganda's principal export. Prospects for 2003 are mixed, with probable strengthening of coffee prices yet with halting growth in the economies of major export customers.
Main article: Demographics of Uganda
People from many different tribes live in Uganda, none of which has a significant majority. There are therefore also many different languages spoken, although English is the country's official language. Luganda is also widely spoken, and taught in schools throughout Uganda.
Christian and Muslim missionaries first arrived in the 1860s, attempting to convert the Bugandan king. At present, most of the population has converted to one of these religions.
Main article: Culture of Uganda
Due to the large number of tribes, many still living within their own kingdoms, culture within Uganda is diverse. A lot of the Asians (mostly from India) who were expelled during the regime of Amin are returning to Uganda.
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