Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, borders South Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; it has no outlet to the sea. The southern part of the territory includes a substantial part of Lake Victoria. Uganda’s independence from the United Kingdom dates back to 1962.

The current president of Uganda is Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has held power since he took over in January 1986, after a six-year guerrilla war. Following constitutional amendments that removed the term of office for the president, he was able to run for office and was elected president of Uganda in the 2011, 2016 and 2021 general elections.

Uganda is a nation considered relatively stable also thanks to the strong control exercised by the NRM (the party in power) over the press and freedom of expression, which limits any credible organized opposition. However, there are elements of tension both internal and external/regional.

In the last twenty years, Uganda has had one of the highest economic growth in Africa, but social disparities still remain strong and the level of extreme poverty is still high. In particular, the deterioration of the economy and the internal and external market has rekindled the presence of cattle raiders (even beyond the Kenyan border) and armed robbers along the roads in the Karamoja region. Uganda continues to be the object of occasional but serious acts of terrorism attributed or claimed by Islamic groups linked to the Somali Shabaab, in retaliation for Ugandan support for the Somali government.

Furthermore, Uganda is involved in the internal tensions and conflicts of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Kivu region. The violence in the DRC reignited during 2022 creating a strong flow of refugees, especially in Uganda.

The worsening of the global context, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, could reduce Uganda's growth in fiscal years 2023-2024 to below 3.4%, a percentage which was recorded in 2021, due to trade disruptions, prices higher commodities and greater risk aversion that could slow down investments. More expensive inputs (eg fertilizer and transportation) will also pose challenges to agricultural production, food security and household incomes. [1]

In addition, climate change has heavily affected agriculture, with a large loss of crops, which remains the primary source of subsistence and income for the majority of the population.

The Italian contribution

The bond that unites Italy with Uganda is very deep and dates back to the beginning of the Second World War through the missionary institutes and the voluntary service of Italian civil society. Cooperation relations were formalized for the first time only in 1974, with the signing of a bilateral agreement. Currently, the activities are regulated by a "Memorandum of Understanding" signed with the Ugandan government in 1993.

The most important sectors of Italian cooperation in Uganda are health, professional education and agricultural development with access to safe water sources. Historically, the Italian presence has been concentrated in the northern region, which has long been plagued by civil war and insecurity, causing poverty and marginalization.

To date, the Agency's interventions in strengthening health systems at both central and peripheral levels are of particular importance to ensure universal access to care by the weakest sections of the population in urban and rural areas.