Endowed with significant natural resources, including ample fertile land, regular rainfall, and mineral deposits, the economy of Uganda has great potential, and it appeared poised for rapid economic growth and development. However, chronic political instability and erratic economic management produced a record of persistent economic decline that has left Uganda among the world's poorest and least-developed countries. The national energy needs have historically been more than domestic energy generation, though large petroleum reserves have been found in the west.
After the turmoil of the Amin era, the country began a program of economic recovery in 1981 that received considerable foreign assistance. From mid-1984 on, however, overly expansionist fiscal and monetary policies and the renewed outbreak of civil strife led to a setback in economic performance.
International trade and finance
Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation. The country's infrastructure—notably its transport and communications systems which were destroyed by war and neglect—is being rebuilt. Recognizing the need for increased external support, Uganda negotiated a policy framework paper with the IMF and the World Bank in 1987. It subsequently began implementing economic policies designed to restore price stability and sustainable balance of payments, improve capacity utilization, rehabilitate infrastructure, restore producer incentives through proper price policies, and improve resource mobilization and allocation in the public sector. These policies produced positive results. Inflation, which ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, was 5.4% for fiscal year 1995-96 and 7.3% in 2003.
Investment as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 20.9% in 2002 compared to 13.7% in 1999. Private sector investment, largely financed by private transfers from abroad, was 14.9% of GDP in 2002. Gross national savings as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 5.5% in 2002. The Ugandan Government has also worked with donor countries to reschedule or cancel substantial portions of the country's external debts.
Uganda is a member of the WTO.