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- Published April 19, 2017
Country Reviews of Capacity Development: The Case of Uganda
Poorly functioning public sector institutions and weak governance are major constraints to growth and equitable development in many developing countries. It is imperative that as Uganda confronts its development challenge, it must address the capacity deficits in the policy environment and implementation for sustainable development results and outcomes.
Capacity building is important to Uganda, given the mixed performance that the country has had in the past 30 years. In particular, this study notes success in macroeconomic stability, consolidating security and the restructuring of the government during the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP). Similarly, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) supported poverty reduction by building the capacity of social sectors to expand agricultural production and education and health access. The success of the ERP and the PEAP is largely attributed to donor support in capacity-building effort in institutions such as the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the Bank of Uganda (BoU).
However, economic conditions seem to have worsened during the NDP, despite the intensification of infrastructure projects to address production constraints. It costs US$ 0.6 more to buy a unit of electricity in Uganda than in countries such as Rwanda. The growth in agriculture (1.54 percent) is much slower than the growth in population (3.3 percent). This deficit is largely due to the inability of institutions to adapt without donor support to deliver on emerging development issues. In particular, there is scope for improvement in the control of expenditure on large infrastructure projects in the energy and transport sector.
To address the challenges ahead, reform of the organisational and institutional arrangements of most MDAs is imperative. Replicating lessons from successful cases in other MDAs such as the MoFPED, the BoU, the NARO and the UBoS would be a good place to start. Essentially, improving governance, especially in local governments, would improve the delivery of critical services such as health and education. In addition, Uganda should leverage the technology spill-overs from the numerous collaborative and effective research and development programmes that address challenges such as climate change and pest control. In particular, supporting initiatives to improve the ability to negotiate trade would also expand opportunities for the private sector and provide a basis for industrialisation. In the short run, support to the private sector should aim to not only incubate business but also reduce the cost of credit and electricity and eliminate unnecessary regulation that costs time.
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