Africa Snapshot: Uganda

Uganda made headlines worldwide in March, when the group Invisible Children released its Kony2012 video about the Lord’s Resistance Army. By all accounts, Joseph Kony and the LRA haven’t operated in Uganda since 2006. But the country has long been at the center of conflict. In recent years, the number of people living in poverty has decreased by about one-third, but the country continues to face corruption, health and security challenges.

pulation: 35.8 million. Uganda is projected to rank fourth this year in population growth worldwide.

Religion: Uganda is a primarily Christian country, with more than 80 percent of the population listing their religion as either Roman Catholic or Protestant. Twelve percent are Muslim.

Language: English and Swahili are the official languages of Uganda. Luganda is another widely-spoken language. It’s often seen in written publications and taught in schools.

Economy: Uganda’s largest agricultural exports include coffee, tea, cotton and tobacco, sold mostly to other African nations and European Union countries. The country’s vast oil deposits have not been fully accessed.

U.S. partnerships: The U.S. government provided more than $600 million in assistance to Uganda in 2011. Nearly half of that went toward HIV/AIDS prevention.

Moment in history: In a daring 1976 raid, Israeli commandos rescued 100 hostages being held at the Entebbe airport after their flight from Israel to Paris was hijacked. The Entebbe  raid has been featured in numerous books and television movies, and was considered a model for later hostage rescue missions and commando raids. The raid was also considered the beginning of the end for Uganda dictator Idi Amin, who was in power for most of the 1970s.

Sources: CIA Fact Book/Uganda, U.S. Department of State Background Note – Uganda

This is the latest in our “Africa Snapshot” series, which takes a brief look at the countries in the AFRICOM area of operations. Click here for previous posts. 

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