Uganda is a landlocked country that over the past 10 years has achieved considerable progress towards many of the Millennium Development Goal targets, managing to significantly reduce the share of the population living in poverty. Nevertheless, it is still among the world’s group of Least Developed Countries. Through its development cooperation, the EU stands by Uganda to help it address its key challenges, such as:  consolidating democracy; removing gender, regional and other inequalities; extending the protection of basic human, social and economic rights to all Ugandans; and removing barriers to sustainable economic growth.

The majority of EU development funding to Uganda is financed by the European Development Fund, with the objectives of fostering sustainable development through improved governance and strengthened economic growth. The cycle of 2014-2020 amounts to €578 million. One of its focuses is on transport infrastructure, by supporting the national transport system and an efficient multimodal transport network. It also focuses on food security and agriculture through the promotion of resilience in fragile regions, value chains and green economy, and good governance, by strengthening the financial, democratic and social accountability of the state.

Under the previous cycle of funding from 2008-2013, the EU dedicated €479 million to programmes in Uganda, with a main focus on transport and infrastructure, rural development and macroeconomic support. One particular project with a budget of €40 million financed the renovation of the Northern Corridor Route – linking the country with Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and improving maintenance of the national road network.

Furthermore, Uganda is a beneficiary of actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular related to providing assistance to refugees and displaced persons, as well as supporting host communities through sustainable development and employment opportunities.

Additional support to Uganda is channelled through other EU initiatives, in particular the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the Global Public Goods and Challenges Programme, the Global Climate Change Alliance, and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. Uganda is the 9th most successful African country in the 7th EU Research Framework program and in Erasmus Mundus.

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Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 39 032 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 56 years (male), 59 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.483
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2012): 33.2%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2012): 16.2%
  • Low income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 423 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2009-2013): 5.8%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


  • In 2013, 41% of births have been delivered in health facilities (up from 32% in 2008)

Agriculture and Food Security

  • In 2014, 91% of the productive farming and livelihoods infrastructures (valley tanks/dams, storage facility, drying slab, water pond) that were built or rehabilitated were maintained in a sustainable manner (up from 17% in 2010)
  • In 2014, 54% of households in northern Uganda that benefited from EU support made use of a district production department service such as disease control, extension (research - farmer), forecasts (weather), input quality assurance, market information, pest control, or veterinary services (up from 43% in 2010)
  • 9 sub-national farmer organisations -corresponding to a total of 360 farmer leaders- have been guided on how to participate in food security policy formulation processes; allowing smallholder farmers through their organisations to advocate better policies
  • 32 000 hectares of timber plantations have been established to agreed standards. These standards address social (e.g. staff welfare); economic (e.g. efficiency of production) and environmental aspects (e.g. ensuring biodiversity conservation as a safeguard) of commercial forestry
  • 3 500 hectares of woodland have been planted with a survival rate of at least 80%, i.e. trees did not die within 5 years

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • 4 200 citizen (1 300 women and 2 900 men) have been sensitised by training on taxation and tax collection policy
  • 400 prison staff were trained on prisoners' human rights
  • 12 700 citizens were trained on the "Citizens Manifesto" which covers issues of governance and accountability, citizen rights and obligation. The manifesto is a contractual engagement between the citizens and appointed and elected leaders serving as a the main vehicle to promote civic empowerment and leadership accountability

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