Uganda’s economy is liberalized and has been on an upward trajectory since 1986, underpinned by strong macro-economic policies. Over the years, the economy has seen progressive growth, contributing to the current GDP of Shs. 109 trillion, equivalent to US$ 29.5 billion (2019). Inter alia, it has been characterized by: increased average incomes for Ugandans to US$ 825 per person in Financial Year 2018/19; average annual growth in formal employment of 9.8% between 2010 and 2017; and growth in the share of industry to the economy to 21%, compared to 11.3% in 1986. The service sector has also grown to contribute 48.7% (2019).
On account of the increasing share of industry and the services sector to the economy, the share of agriculture has reduced from over 50% in 1986 to 22% in 2019. As of 2016, 80% of the labour force was still in the informal sectors of the economy (50% in services and 35.6% in agriculture). Growth in the services sector is especially contributed to by the sustained growth in the tourism sector. In 2018, foreign receipts from tourism reached US$ 1.02 billion, with 1.6 million international tourist arrivals being recorded.
Owing to government’s priority investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors, coupled with policies towards import substitution, value addition and industrialization, the manufacturing sector is fast improving. The manufacturing sector is now able to cater for most of the domestic demand for basic products like cement, tiles, light steel products and consumables such as sugar and soap. Government’s current effort in this regard is geared towards production for export, with a view to bridging attaining a better trade balance.
As part of these efforts, the government has prioritized development Free Zones and operationalisation of industrial parks across the country, both public and private. Some of those already operational include: Bweyogere, Luzira, Kapeeka, Namanve, and Tororo. Industrial parks under development include; Iganga, Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara. The factories industries operating within the parks are especially into agro-processing and manufacturing.
In addition to industrialization, agricultural development – especially commercialization and agro-business; tourism development across the value chain; energy and infrastructure development; ICT and human capital development, are the key priority areas for national development.