Industrial development in Uganda

Linda Calabrese, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi and Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, December 2019

The Ugandan economy has experienced sustained growth since the 1990s. During the same period, Uganda has seen some degree of economic transformation, with the industrial and services sectors growing compared with the agriculture sector. However, the manufacturing sector has remained stagnant. This has been accompanied by low levels of job creation, diagnosed as ‘jobless growth’ (MGLSD, 2018).

This is a challenge for Uganda, as its rapid population growth requires large-scale job creation to absorb new entrants into the labour market. The Supporting Economic Transformation (SET) programme has estimated that, between 2015 and 2030, Uganda needs to create 650,000 new jobs annually (or 1,780 jobs each day) to employ its people (SET, 2018). Large-scale employment creation can be achieved through labour-intensive manufacturing.

This report aims to review the framework for industrial policy in Uganda and to assess its potential to support the development of manufacturing. It looks at the policies and institutions in charge of supporting the manufacturing sector. We focus on manufacturing because other activities classified under the industrial sector (construction and mining) require separate discussions and different policy tools.

Photo: Farmer in Uganda supporting the country’s agricultural productivity and contributing to its GDP. Stephan Gladieu / World Bank . Licence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)