Population 32,369,558 (July 2010 estimate)

Note: Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS.
Languages English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Religions Christian 83.9% (Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42%), Muslim 12.1%, Other 3.1%, none 0.9% (2002 estimate)
Literacy rate

Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write.
Male: 76.8%

Female: 57.7% (2002 estimate
Percentage of population using improved drinking water sources Urban: 90%

Rural: 60%
(2006 estimat
Percentage of population using adequate sanitation facilities Urban: 29%

Rural: 34%
(2006 estimate
Climate Tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in northeast
Percentage of population urbanized 13%
(2008 estimat
Life expectancy Male: 51.66 years

Female: 53.81 years (2010 estimate)
Under-5 mortality rate 135/1,000
(2008 estimate)
GDP per capita $1,200 (2009 estimate)
Monetary unit Ugandan shilling (UGX)
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS 940,000 (2007 estimate        


Percentage of population living below
$1.25 a day
52% (1992-2007)

Sources for facts: The World Factbook, 2010; The State of the World's Children 2009.


  The first Europeans set foot in Uganda in 1862 as explorers and were followed by missionaries. Following religious wars between converted Protestants and Anglicans in Buganda, a British protectorate administration took control of the region in 1896. Independence movements of the 1950s came to fruition in 1962 when Uganda was granted self-rule. In 1971 a military coup toppled the country's first government. Army commander Idi Amin took control, looting the country and killing opponents and members of their tribes. After eight years of Amin's misrule, Uganda was an economic and social disaster. Thousands starved to death or were killed.

Guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton Obote from 1980 to 1985 claimed the lives of at least another 100,000 people. The rule under current president Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who seized power in 1986, has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda.


The typical school year runs from January to November. Education is encouraged and seen in most parts of the country as a very important stepping stone to success. Education is not compulsory, but to encourage parents to take their children to school, the government has established the Universal Primary Education policy where four children from each family have their education costs subsidized in government-run schools. There are plans to extend this to the secondary school level. Most Ugandans attend primary education from age six through 13.

Makerere University, the biggest and oldest university in East Africa, is located in Kampala. For several decades, this was the only university in Uganda. However, in the past 10 years, several universities have emerged to give options to the increasing number of students.   

There are some communities that have resisted education. But overall, the attitude toward education has improved greatly and the graduate rate continues to increase.


The constitution provides for freedom of religion. In many areas, particularly in rural settings, some religions tend to be syncretistic. Deeply held traditional indigenous beliefs commonly are blended into or observed alongside the rites of recognized religions, particularly in areas that are predominantly Christian.

Missionary groups of several denominations are present and active in the country, including the Pentecostal Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church/Church of Uganda, the Church of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Private Koranic and Christian schools are common. In public schools, religious instruction is optional and the curriculum covers world religions rather than instruction in one particular religion. There are also many private schools sponsored by religious groups that offer religious instruction according to the school's affiliation. These private schools are open to students of other faiths, but they usually do not offer minority religious instruction.

Source: U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, November 8, 2005, https://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51501.htm.



Ugandans produce woven textiles, pottery, sculpture, oral poetry, ritual dance and drama.


Ugandan music includes traditional and cultural dance and singing, drums and African instruments.

Holidays and Festivals

New Year's Day, Jan. 1
Liberation Day, Jan. 26
Women's Day, March 8
Easter Week, March/April
Labor Day, May 1
Martyrs' Day, June 3
Heroes' Day, June 9
Independence Day, Oct. 9
Christmas, Dec. 25: The Christmas season is the most important holiday of the year in Uganda and is very festive. Shopping is popular and usually begins the first week of December. Gifts, clothes and Christmas cards are purchased. Caroling is also popular Uganda also observes Muslim holidays.

Sports and Games

Ugandans enjoy soccer, boxing, basketball, golf and cricket. Recreational activities include mountain hiking/climbing, watching gorillas, fishing, whitewater rafting, sailing and bird watching.

Typical Foods

Ugandans eat many foods, including bananas, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans and indigenous vegetables.

Peanut Soup
1-1/2 cups dry unsalted peanuts
3 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
1-1/2 cups milk, scalded

In a blender or food processor, combine the peanuts and some chicken stock. Puree. In a saucepan, combine the pureed peanuts, the remainder of the chicken stock, onion, hot pepper sauce and salt to taste. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soy sauce and milk, and continue cooking over low heat for another five minutes. Garnish with croutons and serve hot. Yields six appetizer-size servings.



Olyotya? (How are you?)
Gyendi. (I am well.)
Nze bampita ... (My name is ...)
Webale. (Thank you.)


P O BOX 10635 Kampala Uganda


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