Uganda’s growth is expected to be between 3.5 per cent and 4.0 per cent in the fiscal year 2022 and about 5.5 per cent in 2023. Both projections are about one percentage point lower than the June 2021 forecast, according to the latest edition of the Uganda Economic Update. The economic recovery in 2021 tapered off for early 2022 mainly due to the more severe second COVID-19 wave in mid-2021 and the related lockdown measures.
The 18th Uganda Economic Update: Putting Women at the Centre of Uganda’s Economic Revival says that although growth rebounded since the start of the COVID-19 crisis – driven by a pick-up in private consumption and investment, and a recovery in exports – the country is still likely to face a stop-start recovery until there is wider coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“To ensure an inclusive economic recovery, faster deployment and widespread coverage of the vaccine is critical,” saidMukami Kariuki, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
“It is encouraging to note that in January 2022, schools will be opened, and support to micro, small and medium enterprises has been prioritised to stimulate job creation. Staying the course will require sustained prudent and transparent fiscal and debt management.”
The update notes that there has been a rise in poverty and household vulnerabilities, widening of inequalities, and a significant threat looms to human capital development, especially in the education sector where schools have been fully or partially closed for a large part of the last two years.
“Even with higher growth prospects, per capita GDP will remain well below the target of the Third National Development Plan, meaning Uganda will now take longer to become a lower-middle-income country,” saidRichard Walker, Senior Economist, and co-author of the Uganda Economic Update.
“Significant uncertainty remains on the evolution of COVID-19, plus weather shocks are a perennial threat, while lower revenues, spending pressures and adjustments to the government’s debt profile could jeopardise Uganda’s hard-earned macroeconomic stability.”
On the upside, commodity prices have recovered, digital technologies and the digital economy continue to support new ways of operating and doing business, and the potential for Ugandan women to drive the recovery is enormous, but only if they have fair and equal opportunities to reach their full potential.
The Uganda Economic Update’s special focus this year is on women’s economic empowerment, which is essential to an integrated response to shorter-term recovery needs and longer-term actions that will address deeper gender inequalities and foster more inclusive and sustainable growth.
“Uganda’s economic recovery will be faster, stronger, and more sustainable if it brings more women into the centre of profitable economic activity,” said Jennifer Solotaroff, Senior Social Development Specialist, and co-author of the Uganda Economic Update.
“Not investing in women deprives households and the economy of the contributions they would make and slows its transition out of agriculture.”
The update urges Uganda to keep girls in school; invest in interventions to ease women’s unpaid care work responsibilities; create more time for women’s wage employment or entrepreneurship; pass and enforce laws protecting gender-equal rights for heirs and descendants to inherit land and other family assets; improve financial literacy among women, increase women’s access to formal financial services; meet women’s demand for more credit by passing laws prohibiting gender discrimination in access to credit; and promote alternative methods to establish women’s creditworthiness.
The benefits of investing in women’s marketable job skills and growth-oriented entrepreneurship will accrue not only to women, but to their households and, by extension, the whole of Ugandan society.
Learn More: The World Bank in Uganda
Photo Credit: Rachel Mabala/World Bank