||Economics of Uganda
Uganda is about the size of Oregon. This country has many natural resources: fertile land, regular rainfall, and mineral deposits. The climate is tropical, with cooler temperatures in the mountain region.
Despite its rich natural resources, Uganda was one of the poorest and least developed countries by the early 1990s as a result of political instability and poor economic policies. In 1992, the GNP was equivalent to only $170 per person. Fortunately, this situation improved dramatically beginning in 1994. Sound economic reforms produced annual economic growth of over 10% in the last two years. Agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing account for approximately 57% of the GDP. Principal cash crops are coffee (90% of exports), cotton, tea, and corn. About 80% of Ugandans work in agriculture, while 4% work in industry. The economy is also benefiting from growing ecotourism in Bwindi National Park--one of the last two homes of the mountain gorillas.
The history of Uganda, like that of its neighbor Rwanda, included a period of European domination. Uganda was a British protectorate from the late 1800s until independence in 1962. Frequent political unrest followed until 1971, when Commander Idi Amin Dada seized power in a military coup. Amin ruled until 1979 as an absolute dictator. Economic decay, social disintegration, and terrible human rights violations resulted. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Ugandans were killed under this dictatorship. Another military coup in July 1985 resulted in the suspension of the 1967 Constitution.
Since the late 1980s, Uganda experienced many hardships: the influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees, rapid population growth, and the epidemic spread in parts of the country of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Despite these problems, political peace and stability have been maintained for the last ten years, producing greater economic stability for the people of this country.
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