According to a new report, poverty in Uganda has reduced in more than 80 percent of the rural sub-counties though this reduction has been least in the Northern region.
Nature, Distribution and Evolution of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda, describes and summarizes the trends in poverty and inequality in Uganda over the period 1992-2002. The report is the culmination of a two-year research project conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), World Resources Institute in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), with technical assistance from the World Bank and with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. These new poverty measures can be used to help target, design and implement pro-poor development strategies that are both effective and inclusive.
This report presents information using the most recent data from the National Population and Housing Census of 2002 and the National Household Survey of 2002/3 and examines the changes in poverty over the period 1992-2002 as well as providing estimates of Ugandan poverty and inequality at the district, county and sub-county levels. The new estimates of well-being presented in this report are based on statistical techniques that combine existing survey and census datasets. Within sub-counties, poverty and inequality measures are computed for rural and urban communities. The report also demonstrates how poverty maps can be combined with other indicators of well-being to better understand the phenomenon of poverty. The results from the analysis of changes in poverty levels for 1992–2002 show that rural and urban areas with low initial poverty rates also experienced significant decreases in the absolute number of poor people by 2002.
The analysis of this publication makes use of the information from the 2002 population and Housing Census and the 2002/3 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS). It builds on the previous work presented in the publication ‘Where are the poor? Mapping patterns of well-being in Uganda 1992-1999‘ which presented poverty estimates for each administrative district and county in Uganda. Building on and improving upon previous work, this analysis utilizes the most recent available data and investigates the potential for improving service and development targeting by complementing the new poverty information with geographical infrastructural and service information for key sectors of the economy, an important concern in a growing country like Uganda.
‘The Government of Uganda had for many days been allocating resources to districts and communities with limited experiential basis for the decisions to target for example income inequality. Although this disbursement of funds was meant to reduce poverty and improve project implementation, there was a risk of achieving limited success, partly due to the lack of information. To that end, the poverty maps could go a long way in helping to make informed decisions. There is also need for government and policy makers as well as development partners, to rely on empirical indicators for targeting resources,’ says the Executive Director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, John B. Male –Mukasa.
The aim of this research is to support implementation of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan by providing information that can improve design and targeting of specific poverty interventions and assist in crafting better targeted programmes that help the poor in Uganda meet their basic consumptions needs.
How have poverty levels changed over the decade, if at all?
The highest drops in poverty in rural areas between 1992 and 1999 were in Central and parts of western regions, but the new analysis show that poverty has reduced in more than 80 percent of the rural sub-counties of Uganda, the report provides critical indicators for evidence-based pro-poor policy making and key benchmarks for measuring the progress made by the government of Uganda. A comparison of national poverty levels for 1992 and 2002 points towards an improvement in welfare over the decade, with the national poverty rate falling from 56% in 1992 to 39% in 2002. Between 1992 and 2002, estimated poverty incidence shows a marked decline in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas the incidence of poverty decreases by 16 percentage points compared to 18 percentage points in rural areas. Urban poverty was more concentrated in the Northern and Western regions in 2002 relative to the Central and Eastern regions. The absolute number of poor people increased in the Northern and Western regions by 130% and 112.5% respectively. In contrast, in the Central and Eastern regions, the absolute number of poor people declined by 62% and 45% respectively. The Northern Region had the highest urban poverty incidence in 1992 (50%) and 2002 (38%). It also had the highest poverty increment between 1992 and 2002. Central Region, with relatively low urban poverty incidence in 1992 (19%) and 2002 (17%), demonstrated the highest reduction in poverty incidence over the same period.
In the rural areas, the situation is slightly different with more poor people concentrated in the Northern and Eastern regions than in the Central and Western regions. The absolute number of poor people increased in the Northern and Eastern regions by 48% and 14% respectively. Conversely, in Central and Western regions, the absolute number of rural poor declined by 32% and 14% respectively. As is the case in the urban areas, Northern Region, with the highest poverty incidence in 1992 (75%) and 2002 (66%) also had the highest increase in absolute number of poor between 1992 and 2002. Similarly, in Central Region with relatively low poverty incidence in 1992 (54%) and in 2002 (27%), we see the highest poverty reduction over the same period.
The results from the analysis of changes in poverty levels for 1992–2002 show that rural and urban areas with low initial poverty rates also experienced significant decreases in the absolute number of poor people by 2002. Areas with high initial poverty rates instead witnessed increased absolute numbers of poor people by 2002.
Download the book: http://mahider.ilri.org/handle/10568/1542
Data for the changes in poverty can be obtained on request from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS )and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
Uganda, located in eastern Africa, has an estimated population of 25.3 million and an annual population growth rate of 2.7%. The country has been plagued by an on-going 20-year-old war in the north between the government and rebel fighters. The rebels have become notorious for their crimes against civilians and for the abduction and murder of children. This has resulted in about 20,000 displaced persons, many of whom live in government ‘internally displaced’ camps. Over a million women and children have been affected. Children too afraid to sleep at night for fear of being abducted by rebels during their dawn raids on villages leave their homes each evening. They have become known as the ‘night commuters’ of northern Uganda – traveling from their villages to the safety of towns to avoid capture. Of recent, some progress has been made in terms of return of peace to the region. Currently, the LRA rebels and government are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending the 20 year civil war.
Although this paints a bleak picture, Uganda as a whole has made great strides, taking advantage of significant growth in the 1990s and is considered a model of development in Africa. Crippling inflation rates have been brought under control and GDP growth has been impressive, at 7.9% in 1999 and with a projected growth rate of 6.2% in 2005. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, contributing over 32% of GDP and employing over 80% of the work force. Uganda’s principal export is coffee, along with fish, fish products, cotton and tea.
Despite Uganda’s progress and concerted poverty reduction efforts, poverty is still widespread, with an estimated 31% (in 2005/06) of the population living below the national poverty line. The latest figures show the average life expectancy of a Ugandan is 43 years (47 years in 1990), infant mortality is 83 per 1000 live births, and under-5 mortality is 141 per 1000 children. The annual number of births is 1.3 million, but an estimated 184,000 children under 5 die each year.
(Data sources: World Bank; UNICEF.)