Natural resources and energy
Uganda's greatest natural resource is the
fertile soil. But oil and natural gas have been found in
the western part of the country and are expected to
generate large income in the long run. The country also
has deposits of copper, gold, tin, cobalt, iron ore,
phosphate, limestone, beryllium, apatite, tungsten,
bismuth and silicate sand for glass making. Most of
these discoveries are not explored in detail and no one
knows how big they are.
During the 2000s, several oil deposits were made in
western Uganda. The largest discovery to date, under the
Alberta Lake on the border with Congo-Kinshasa, is to be
extracted by the British-based Tullow Oili collaboration
with French Total and Chinese CNOOC.
Major exports by Uganda with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Uganda's total oil reserves are estimated to be on a
par with Sudans and able to generate significant income
for the country for two to three decades. Oil production
would have started in 2010. However, by the spring of
2020, no oil recovery had started, both because of
bureaucratic obstacles and various disputes, despite
investments of around $ 3 billion. The project has also
been riddled with accusations of environmental crime and
abuse of the people of the area. About 7,000 people were
forced to leave Kabaale in 2012 to prepare the site for
a refinery and a new airport, many of which have not yet
received the compensation they were promised.
The Ugandan government says it wants to use its
energy resources to reduce the country's dependence on
imported oil, and to supply neighboring countries with
energy. The Ugandan government also plans to build a
refinery to process the oil inland. For the time being,
however, the country must import oil and oil products,
most of which come via Kenya.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, UG stands for Uganda.
According to plans, a pipeline for oil exports would
be drawn via Kenya, but in April 2016 Uganda decided to
change route, and instead let the 140 km long pipeline
go through Tanzania. Concerns about attacks by the
Islamist al-Shabaab militia were largely behind the
In Kilembe in western Uganda, copper was mined until
the 1970s, but unrest then stopped production. The
business was to be re-launched in 2015, after a Chinese
mining consortium had the right to mine the deposits,
but by spring 2019 production had not started. Uganda
has since become a major exporter of gold since the late
1990s. However, a large part of this sale is probably
about gold smuggled in from Congo-Kinshasa. A Russian
company opened a plant in Kampala in 2010 to refine
gold. There is also some extraction of cobalt, tin,
tungsten and limestone. Despite many problems, the
mining sector has grown by almost 9 percent a year
between 2008 and 2017.
Wood, charcoal and residual products from agriculture
account for more than 90 percent of energy production.
The remaining 10 percent is extracted from imported oil
or natural gas or in the form of electricity that is
produced almost exclusively in hydroelectric power
stations. In 2013, only about 14 percent of Uganda's
households had access to the electricity grid. A number
of projects are in progress for more households to be
The lack of energy, together with high electricity
prices, is one of the biggest obstacles to economic
development in Uganda. The government is therefore
investing in the expansion of hydropower. A new
hydropower plant, in Bujagali, which was inaugurated in
2012, was both more expensive and clearly later than
expected. Two more large power plants will be built in
the Nile with the help of loans from China. One of them,
Isimba, was ready in 2019. The other, Karuma, is
expected to be ready by 2020. Another one, in the Uhuru
case, may be going, despite the government initially
saying no, because of the threat it poses to the
wetlands in Murchison Falls National Park, which is also
a major tourist attraction.
Uganda is also affected by climate change, with
rising temperature and with more irregular rainfall and
longer dry periods, which strikes against the importance
of agriculture to Uganda. The country signed in 2015
under the Paris agreement to limit greenhouse gas
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
5 229 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.1 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
89.1 percent (2015)
A new law against homosexuality is approved in Parliament
A law that stipulates stricter penalties for homosexuality is approved in
Parliament, but Prime Minister Mbabazi claims that the vote is invalid since too
few members were present.
Power struggle between the mayor and the president
Kampala's independent mayor Erias Lukwago will be dismissed at the end of the
month by the city council with the 29-3 vote. The reason for this was that a
government-appointed tribunal accused him of neglecting his assignment. However,
it is all about a power struggle between Lukwago and Museveni. The decision is
annulled by a court, which, even before the meeting, stated that it could not be
held until a legal review had been done.
Anti-corruption measures are called into question
In a report, Letting the Big Fish Swim: Failure to Prosecute High-Level
Corruption in Uganda, from Human Rights Watch and an institution at US Yale
University, the government is criticized for not doing enough to fight
corruption in the country. Despite a series of scandals, no one at a high level
has been jailed for this. In connection with cases of corruption reaching the
courts, President Museveni has made statements in which he has questioned the
evidence and promised help to the accused, the investigators claim. Convicting
judgments have only occurred with regard to lower-level corruption, and have
been about smaller sums. At the same time, people working against corruption
have been imprisoned.
New law makes it difficult for political meetings
After a multi-month debate, Parliament adopts a law that makes it more
difficult to conduct public policy meetings (see Political system).
The president's son denies taking power
Kainerugaba Muhoozi in a statement denies that his father has any plans to
hand over power to him. He also says that Ugandans appoint their leaders through
Opposition leaders arrested again
A legal process is underway against Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago, who is
accused of abuse of power. When his supporters protest against this on June 20,
the police intervene against them with tear gas and rubber bullets. About the
same time, opposition leader Besigye, who is accused of trying to get
demonstrations in support of Lukwago, is arrested again.
General criticizes the president
General David Sejusa, who is in London, writes an open letter on May 29
criticizing the media's intervention and urging Museveni to retire so he can
stand as a candidate in political elections.
Major changes in the military command
While the discussion is underway, Museveni dismisses Army Chief Aronda
Nyakairima, who instead becomes Minister of the Interior. Nyakairima has been
singled out as the opponent for Kainerugaba Muhoozi to succeed Museveni.
Assistant Army Chief Ivan Koreta may also go. As a result, none of the men who
fought with Museveni in the 1980s remain in the military command.
Split within the military command
Assessors say the letter indicates that there is a power struggle within the
military leadership between the old guard and a group of younger officers where
Kainerugaba is included. David Sejusa, who confirmed that he has written the
letter, is outside Uganda.
Earlier in the year, General Mugisha Muntu left the army to join the
Media is censored
The newspapers are forced to close and even two radio stations that reported
on the letter are prevented from broadcasting. After just over a week, both
newspapers and radio stations can resume their work, but they are subject to
Be afraid of media
Police are raiding several media outlets - including The Daily Monitor and
Red Pepper newspapers - who in their report claimed that President Museveni is
acting to succeed him, son of Colonel Kainerugaba Muhoozi, who today leads a
9,000-strong special forces force. The newspapers have cited General David
Sejusa Tinyefuza, who in a letter to the head of the country's security service
asked to investigate information that there are plans to murder people who
oppose Kainerugaba taking over when Museveni's mandate expires in 2016. Police
demand that The Daily Monitor should reveal its source, but newspaper management
Search for rebel leaders is interrupted
Uganda interrupts attempts to find LRA leader Joseph Kony in the Central
African Republic. The United States promises a $ 5 million reward to anyone who
can contribute information so that Kony can be arrested.
Opposition leaders are arrested again
Besigye is arrested in January, released on bail, and arrested again in
March. His party FDC accuses the police of torturing its members.