Uganda Energy and Environment Facts

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.

  • COUNTRYAAH: 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. Visit itypeusa for more information about 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 decision.

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 connected.

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 emissions.


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 general elections.

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 opposition.

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 some restrictions.

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 refuses.


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.

Uganda Energy and Environment Facts

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