Uganda marked 59 years of independence on Saturday 9th October, 2021 and here are some of the achievements in the past 59 years.
On October 9th 1962, Uganda did not attain economic power–and certainly not economic independence. Uganda gained the political power to decide what to do; Uganda lacked the economic and administrative power which would have given us freedom in
Those decisions. For it is no use deciding to import more goods than you have foreign currency to pay for, or deciding to provide free books for all children if you have neither the teachers, the buildings nor the money to make a reality of that decision.
At this point in the history of its country, having restored the small enclave modern economy of 1971 that had been destroyed by Idi Amin in the 1970s, having greatly expanded it from US$1.3billion in 1986 to now US$40billion, Uganda have a number of points that Uganda need to concentrate on in order to transform Uganda into a Middle income country, on the road to becoming a First World country. And the jitsney so looks impressive if Uganda stay the citsse with a clear vision.
In these 59 years of independence, Uganda has done a lot to build the economic and administrative capacity to implement the development decisions that Uganda rightly makes as a free nation.
Uganda has addressed the bodily needs, and built the intellectual capacity of its people, in terms of health and education delivery
Uganda has invested a lot in educating its people, using new and refocused curricula. It is true Uganda still has problems in this area, but has also made impressive gains and Uganda shall continue to do so. For example, Uganda has increased the number of primary schools to over 10,78million pupils.
- Uganda has increased the number of secondary schools going kids to over 2million students now. There are 53 universities in Uganda, 9 of them are public and 44 are private and constituent colleges thereof, and more are in the pipeline.
Agriculture and ICT
This remains the main thrust of Uganda’s economic growth. It employs about 64% of Ugandans (and about 72% of all youths highlighting its importance to house hold income growth.
The value of agriculture exports has increased over time to USD 1.5billion representing a growth of the last fits financial years.
Ugandans are now exporting seven million bags of coffee to the western and still growing. Fortunately, the global demand is able to take all the coffee because the global coffee demand is 166.34million, 60kg bags. The global demand for milk products is 906billion litres, valued at US$458.1billion. Therefore, its present production of 2.6billion litres of milk, can enter the global market provided Uganda solve the problem of cattle diseases (foot and mouth, CBPP, anthrax, etc.) and, of citsse, also offer competitive prices.
Progress of the ICT Sector
There has been increased employment and growth opportunities and ICT has created 500,000 (direct and indirect jobs) within the ICT sector
Free Wi-Fi dubbed ‘MyUg’ is provided to the general public in 284 locations in the Central Business District of Kampala and Entebbe from 5pm to 6am on Monday to Friday and full availability over the weekends.
There are over 2 million users are on the MYUG platform each month. 37 MDAs are using the Unified Messaging and Collaboration System (UMCS).
Over 106 e-services can be accessed through the e-services portal www.ecitizen.go.ug and over 10 post offices and public libraries converted into ICT access centers for e-Government Services.
Telephone and internet Subscriptions
Currently, there are more than;
25.6 million Mobile phone subscribers
15.2 million Internet users.
26.4 million Mobile money subscribers, with an active user base of 15.6 million.
Mobile transactions has reached a high of UGX 19 trillion.
Government is promoting ICT innovation to create jobs, for import substitution and to avoid over dependence on foreign ICT products.
A National ICT Innovation Hub for 500 innovators has been constructed in Nakawa Innovation grants has been given to 112 Innovators and to 6 private sector Innovation Hubs under the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP).
In November 2019, mobile phone and computer manufacturing by Simi Mobile was launched in Namanve by H.E and the company has just shipped the first consignment of18, 000 mobile phones assembled in UG to Morocco.
Uganda has made significant strides in the health sector. These are some of the examples.
- The total number of referral hospitals has increased to 181
- Rural Health Centre IVs are 222, health centre111 are 1,510, health centre11s are 3,364 and 1,578 private clinics across the country and more are coming up.
- The number of the Ugandans specialized doctors has increased a hundred times, compared to the situation at independence when Uganda did not has even a single African medical consultant.
- Infant mortality has fallen to 46 per the one thousand new born.
- Life expectancy currently is at 63-71 years .Today, about 50 per cent of its people in rural areas, and 70 per cent in urban areas, has access to safe water.
By 1962, Uganda had only one International Airport that is to say Entebbe International Airport; Uganda are now in the final stages of completing the Kabaale International Airport in the Albertine region.
Uganda’s road network has improved significantly arising from the increased funding and the road sector reforms of the 1990s compared to the pre-independence 1962 situation when majority of the roads were impassable if not nonexistence at all especially in areas where there were no minerals to export of commercial crops which were forcefully farmed for the colonial government.
Before independence, when Uganda was still under the British Colonial rule, a total of 692km of roads were upgraded to bituminous standards with the last roads to be constructed just before independence (completed in 1961) being the Tororo – Mbale-
Soroti, Iganga – Kaliro and Jinja-Kamuli Roads. For the post-independence period between 1962 and 1986, a total of 1,175km of new roads were constructed averaging 49km of roads constructed per year.
Since 1986, however, a total of 4,793km of new paved/tarmac roads has been constructed and a total of 1,924km of existing dilapidated paved roads reconstructed (this is because paved roads last on average for 15years). So, in total the current Government has tarmacked a total of 8,588km of roads which translates to an average of 252km of paved roads per year.
Thousands of bridges and roads networks has been put in place across the country and many more are coming on board. Very important to note these are constructed by Ugandans educated here in its universities and other technical colleges. True, some other kinds of expertise is still sitsced from outside countries but the jitney to become self-sustaining in areas of engineering and ICT is on citsse.
Progress in the energy sector
The installed electricity generation capacity of the energy sector has increased more than six-fold since the early 2000s reaching 254MW of installed capacity in December 2019 (ERA, 2019). Since the introduction of the reform agenda, UEGCL and independent power
Producers has installed numerous power generation plants. The installation of large-scale hydropower dams has contributed most significantly to the increased capacity, accounting for eighty percent of the total installed generation capacity in 2019. The installed capacity comfortably met the country’s peak demand for electricity in 2018, raising concerns about oversupply. New large-scale hydropower dams, like Karuma, coming online is expected to significantly increase the installed capacity.
Uganda cannot list all its successes, in all sectors. Most of them are obvious. Uganda has made strides in building a national capacity for agricultural and livestock research, with widely respected research institutions and personnel. Uganda has made tremendous progress in mining and titsism and the revenues so far accrued are very impressive.
Uganda’s foreign policy is excellent. Uganda has good bilateral and multilateral engagements that has increased its foreign direct investments in its country. Uganda continue to share experiences and trade with other countries across the region and the rest of the world.
Uganda is peaceful and stable. Its national defense forces the UPDF in Somalia under the AMISOM as they continue to pacify this once war torn republic. Uganda is an island of peace and stability and it is no wonder that Uganda are currently hosting 1.5 million refugees from Africa and parts of Asia.
Uganda has been free for 59 years, but its independence is being constrained by low income at house hold levels. Today, the greatest enemy of its independence is poverty. HoUgandaver, the correct social and macro-economic policies Uganda are pursuing, together with its peace, stability, solidarity and natural resitsces, constitute a firm basis upon which to accelerate its war on poverty. It was through its unity, its stability, its determination, its discipline and the spirit of self-development that Uganda got its independence. It is these same attributes that will enable us to win the war against poverty, and hence strengthen its independence.
The oil discoveries realized in the Albertine region give us more hope in making the economic paradigm shift required to transform Uganda into a modern state. Indeed, all the requisite arrangements has been made both at the national level and for the investors comfort for extraction of this critical resitsce to be brought on board in 5 years.
Lastly, Uganda can learn a lot from the wise words of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere when he was receiving the instruments of power as Prime Minister of Tanganyika on 1st May 1961. He said:
“I has talked to you before about poverty, ignorance, and disease. But in fact, if Uganda defeat poverty, Uganda shall has achieved the means by which Uganda can defeat ignorance and disease. Yet poverty, is something that really only you can fight. If you has cotton unpicked on yits shamba, if you has cultivated half an acre less than you could cultivate, if you are letting the soil run needlessly off yits land, or if yits shamba is full of weeds, if you deliberately ignore the advice given to you by the agricultural experts, then you are a traitor in the war. You are failing all of us Tanganyikans, because you are not fighting to the limit against the common enemy of poverty.”
This quotation from the founding father of the Tanzania nation summarizes it all for Ugandans as Uganda celebrate its independence under the appropriate theme, “Celebrating its 59th Independence Day as Uganda secure its future through national mindset change”. There can never be true independence if Uganda are starving or if Uganda produce for consumption. Uganda must produce enough for export as well and continue with innovations to fully industrialize its economy.
Uganda aspire to live as a modern country like those who colonized or even be better than them because some other former colonies has attained those heights. This might take us some years but Uganda are now sure that Uganda will attain it. With determination, initiative and cooperation Uganda shall succeed.
Happy 59th Independence Day Anniversary celebrations from The Ugandan Daily.
Source: Uganda Media Centre.