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March 2010



Uganda is a landlocked country in the middle of the African continent. It covers an area of 241,040 sq. km. (93,070 sq. mi.); about the size of the state of Oregon. Its capital city, Kampala, has an estimated population of 1.2 million (2002). Other major cities in Uganda are: Jinja, Gulu, Mbale, and Mbarara. The natural resources of Uganda include: copper, cobalt, hydropower, limestone, salt, arable land, and gold.

With an overall population of 30.9 million (2007), Uganda's ethnic groups include: Baganda, Banyankole, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Karamojong, Basoga, Bagisu, and others. English is the official language of Uganda, although Swahili is generally spoken among the military. The religious breakdown of Uganda is: 85% Christian, 12% Muslim, and 2% other.

Uganda's population is predominately rural, and its population density highest in the southern regions. Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest nonindigenous ethnic group in Uganda. In that year, the Idi Amin regime expelled 50,000 Asians, who had been engaged in trade, industry, and various professions. In the years since Amin's overthrow in 1979, Asians have slowly returned and now number around 30,000. Idi Amin's 8-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations.

Since assuming power, Museveni and his government have largely put an end to the human rights abuses of earlier governments, initiated substantial economic liberalization and general press freedom, and instituted economic reforms in accord with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and donor governments.

The Republic of Uganda became independent of Britain in October 1962. President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni came into power in 1986. Uganda's next presidential election will be held in February 2011. The unicameral National Assembly has 332 seats. The Court of Appeal is appointed by the president and approved by the legislature.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 2/2010; 2/2010