Every day, hundreds of thousands inhabitants in Kampala travel to and from their workplaces on a motorcycle taxi. The drivers have a very vulnerable work situation, but it has been improved through support from Sida.
Our work in Uganda
Uganda's complex development requires different solutions in our development cooperation. The prolonged conflict in the northern parts of the country has reached a peaceful solution, and has been followed by reconstruction work and development. In 2014 Sweden adopted a new cooperation strategy for Uganda with four focus areas: strengthening of democracy and human rights, better maternal and child health, increased employment and reduced violence against women.
The current president Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. Since the elections in 2006, the country has seen an increased concentration of political power. The democratic space for political opposition has been reduced and corruption has become increasingly institutionalised.
The country's young democracy is at a critical stage and our future efforts will be defined by political developments. Our development cooperation is focused on four areas: strengthening of democracy and human rights, better maternal and child health, increased employment and reduced violence against women.
In 2012 an incident of corruption within the Ugandan state administration was revealed. Sweden suspended the payments to the Ugandan government over a period and demanded repayment of the misused funds. Once the money had been repaid, Sweden resumed payments.
In 2014 Uganda decided on a legislation that could give life imprisonment for homosexuality. The law, that is incompatible with human rights, was subsequently annulled by the Constitutional Court on technical grounds, and the future of the legislation is now uncertain.
Due to this law and also the widespread corruption, Sweden currently avoids cooperation with the Ugandan government. This does not apply to research cooperation. Swedish support is largely channelled through civil society organizations and international organizations. The conditions for state-to-state cooperation may change during the period covered by the current cooperation strategy.
Democratic development and human rights
Democratic development in Uganda gives a rather conflicting image. In 2006, the first elections under a multi-party system were held. The elections in 2006 and 2011 contributed to the establishment of preconditions for a political opposition, although that opposition is still weak. At the same time, the government has taken an increasingly strong grip over the state power.
Human rights are protected under the Ugandan constitution, but are not sufficiently implemented. The attempt to legislate against homosexuality is a clear example of that.
Sweden places a great importance on continued democratic developments. The goal is to support strengthened democracy, free and fair elections and increased respect for human rights. The support is channelled through civil society organisations working for democratic change, and through public channels aiming to create a broader political dialogue.
Sweden has supported the development of Ugandan health care sector for many years, especially in the neglected rural areas.
Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, but also a high maternal mortality. Sweden has a particular focus on improving maternal health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Funding is also provided to the Ministry of Health to strengthen their capacity for planning and management within the health sector. Sweden also supports a number of NGOs working for a development of a system of checks that can be redeemed for maternal and perinatal care, as well as a number of other NGOs.
In the early 1990s, the AIDS epidemic was raging in Uganda and the country was among the worst affected countries in the world. The Sida support has contributed to lowering the HIV prevalence rate from 18 to 7 per cent.
But there are warning signs that the positive trend has been halted and that greater efforts are required. Together with other donors Sida supports the implementation of Uganda's own strategy against the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as projects run by various NGOs that focus on halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Business and commerce
A strong and competitive private sector is a prerequisite for creating job opportunities and improving incomes for poor people. Agriculture is the basis of the Ugandan economy. Improving its productivity and competitiveness is one priority for Sida's development cooperation, which has the overall objective of improving the business and investment climate and increasing trade.
Improvements of the business climate take place at both national and local level in cooperation with public and private actors. In the former conflicted-affected areas of northern Uganda, Sida also supports direct interventions that contribute to better conditions for the livelihoods of previously internally displaced people.
The goal of increased trade is achieved partly through the development of local businesses and their organisations, partly by developing and adapting institutions and regulations to meet international requirements and standards.
Private sector cooperation
The private sector plays an important role in development cooperation where it contributes through its knowledge and its financial resources. This is why an increased cooperation with the private sector is a priority of the Swedish support. In Uganda, this is done through various forms of cooperation. Providing financial guarantees to a local bank increases funding opportunities for private actors within the health sector. In collaboration with the Ugandan private sector, Sweden has contributed to the start-up of a business incubator at the Makerere University that specialises in ICT. Sweden has also supported various business initiatives in Uganda through the global programme Innovations Against Poverty (IAP).
Research and Universities
The research cooperation with Uganda, introduced in 2000, aims to improve the analytical capacity of the research on poverty reduction and democratic governance at public universities. Funding for the period January 2010 to June 2014 amounted to SEK 180 million and was mainly directed to the Makerere University in Kampala, but also to the other four public universities in Uganda.
The support focuses on postgraduate education within medicine, technology, humanities and social sciences, agriculture and veterinary medicine. The education is carried out in cooperation with Swedish universities, alternating between periods spent in Uganda and in Sweden.
Sida also supports the improvement of the research environment at Makerere University, including information and communication technology (ICT), libraries, quality assurance and laboratory equipment, as well as an administrative reform for effective research management.