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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

Chapter four: Case Study Two: Child Mothers In The Northern Uganda Conflict

1 Introduction17

1.1 Country profile

Uganda is a landlocked East African country of 25 million people bordering the northern shores of Lake Victoria. Dubbed the ‘pearl of Africa’, its many lakes and rivers, fertile soils and regular rainfall generate agricultural wealth based on diversified crop production - coffee, tea, cotton, and tobacco are the main cash crops. As in Burundi, Uganda’s principal export crop is coffee.

Agriculture occupies 82% of the population; the economy also benefits from sizeable

deposits

of copper

sectors.

However

and cobalt, and growing industrial processing and hydropower there are brakes on economic growth: overspecialization in

agricultural production as a result environmental problems including

of a colonial legacy of unequal development; deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, and

water

hyacinth

infestation

in

Lake

Victoria.

Gross

Domestic

Product

per

person

was estimated line. The 2005 the bottom of

at $1,800 in 2006, and 35% of the population Human Development Report ranked Uganda the ‘medium human development’ category.

lives below the poverty at 144 out of 177, near

Infant mortality stands at 66 deaths per 1,000 births, and life expectancy at birth is 53. The general rate of HIV infection is 4.1%, though this conceals significant differences between the war-affected north of the country and the rest. Almost 70% of the population over the age of 15 is literate, but there is a wide male- female literacy gap (male 80%, female 60%)

1.2 Background to the war and the peace process

Political violence has been endemic in Uganda since its independence from the

colonial power (Britain) in 1962.

The colonialists saw the Baganda of central

Uganda as the most advanced Ugandan culture, inheritors of the colonial mantle, and deliberately set them against other groups. After Independence there was increasing fragmentation - along ethnic lines, but also reflecting political tensions between the centre of the country and the peripheral regions in the north, east and west. The uprising against the Baganda in 1967 and the exiling of the Baganda king resulted from a backlash against the Baganda, more favoured by Britain, and was the first step into an extremely vicious civil war. The rise of President Idi Amin in 1971, the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in 1972, the atrocities of the Lowero Triangle in the early 1980s and the rise of the National Resistance Army which took

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  • nformation for this section is drawn from a variety of references, listed as annex 

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