Uganda obtained independence from the United Kingdom in October 1962. However Uganda's myriad of ethnic groups, each with their own political system and culture, stymied attempts to create a cohesive and functioning polity. This paved the way for the dictatorial regime of Idi Amin (1971-79) who was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 political opponents, and the dictatorship of President Obote (1980-85), which claimed an additional 100,000 lives. President Museveni came to power in a coup in 1986 and won his fourth term in February 2011 with 68 per cent of the vote. Museveni removed presidential term limits in 2005 and will run as his party's candidate in the January 2016 presidential elections.
Agriculture employs over 80 per cent of the Ugandan work force, with coffee accounting for the bulk of export revenues. Since 1990, the Government's economic reforms have led to solid economic growth. More recently, the Government has been actively engaged in regional integration efforts through the East Africa Common Market, including initiatives to build cross border trade through the construction of crucial transport infrastructure. However, unreliable power, high energy costs and inadequate infrastructure remain barriers to greater economic growth and foreign investment.
There are at least 32 languages spoken in Uganda, but English and Swahili—both official languages—and Ganda are the most commonly used. Uganda is a member of The Commonwealth, The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Uganda contributes significant numbers of troops to end the conflict in South Sudan and peacekeepers to the United Nations mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Australia's diplomatic representation to Uganda is from the High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya and an Honorary Consulate in Kampala, Uganda. Uganda is represented in Australia by a High Commission based in Canberra.
Economic, trade and political information
- Travel advice for Uganda | See our Travel Information page
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- Assistance to Australian travellers: Consular Services Charter