Real GDP growth was an estimated 5.3% in 2018, up from 5.0% in 2017. On the supply side, industry (9.7% growth) and services (8.2%) contributed considerably, while agriculture showed slower growth (4.5%). On the demand side, greater investment in public infrastructure was the main contributor to growth, while the current account registered a deficit due to growing imports of capital goods, thereby stymieing growth.
The fiscal deficit widened to an estimated 4.7% in 2018, driven largely by ongoing public infrastructure investments supported by borrowing from both external and domestic sources. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio was estimated at 40.0% in 2018, with external debt at 28.1% of GDP. The 2017 debt sustainability assessment indicated that Uganda is at a low risk of debt distress. Inflation fell to an estimated 3.2% in 2018, due mainly to lower food inflation and prudent monetary policy.
Tailwinds and headwinds
Real GDP growth is projected to improve to 5.5% in 2019 and 5.7% in 2020. Increased infrastructure investment, foreign direct investment in the oil and mining subsectors, and reforms to improve the business environment will drive stronger growth over the short and medium term. The current account deficit is projected to stabilize at 4.9% in 2019 and further weaken to 5.4% in 2020, and the fiscal deficit is projected to further narrow to 4.4% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020. Headline inflation is projected to increase to 4.3% in 2019 and 4.8% in 2020.
Downside risks include adverse weather shocks, given agriculture’s high reliance on rain, and the slow
implementation of infrastructure projects. Despite the government’s recent large public infrastructure investments, the quantity and quality of transport, water and sanitation, energy, and agriculture infrastructure remain inadequate to meet the country’s economic transformation and development objectives. The country continues to face shortages of skilled labor, especially in services and manufacturing, and several business climate challenges that undermine competitiveness: heavy burdens of regulations for registering and obtaining trading licenses and a high administrative burden of taxes.
Weaknesses in public sector management and governance remain. Performance in budget credibility and controls are on a positive trajectory but still at a low levels. Commitment controls are underperforming, contributing to a buildup of arrears, while inadequate financial management controls have led to mischarges of expenditures. Public investment management is affected by weak institutional and human capacities that often lead to project delays. And the country remains highly vulnerable to adverse climate changes, such as droughts.
Agriculture remains a strategic opportunity for spearheading the government’s development objectives. Uganda is abundantly endowed with natural resources, including oil, gas, and mineral resources and a natural habitat for diverse wildlife that could support the tourist industry. The country continues to post high economic growth and price stability driven by prudent macroeconomic policies. And its strategic location allows it to be accessible to Central and East African markets, including Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa members, making it a possible transportation, logistics, and transit hub for regional trade.
- The government securities yield curve extended to 15 years with 4benchmark points along the curve (2-5-10 and 15 years).
- Uganda is 13th in the ABMDI 2017 Ranking Report.
The annual budget clearly sets out the volume of net Treasury securities issuance to be conducted for fiscal policy purposes each year, and how the proceeds will be used. Planned net issuance must be fully consistent with the programmed path for the fiscal deficit, and the volume of planned forms of all other financing.
There are 4 benchmarks maturities: 2-5-10 and 15 years. The government aims to create benchmark for 2-5-10 and 15 years with large issue amounts.
Guide to Buying Bonds
Procedures for market participation
Any investor who wishes to purchase government securities in the primary market must contact a Primary Dealer (PD) and have or open an account at the Central Securities Depository (CSD). The list of investors that could participate in the government securities market is listed in the Central Bank website; they are:
- Commercial banks
- Insurance firms
- Government agencies
- Pension funds
- Individuals (of at least 18 years)
- Offshore investors, provided they opened an account beforehand at the CSD, and invest through a Primary Dealer.
In the secondary market, the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) provides a list of licensed brokers and investment advisors authorized to deal in the CSD.
Further information on Uganda Securities Market is provided in the Central Bank website.
The settlement time is T+1 in the primary market. In the secondary market, the time falls down to 0.
There is a 10% withholding tax applicable on interest income earned by investors, regardless of residency.
Openness to international investors
There are no restrictions imposed on foreign investors in the bond market in Uganda.
Residents and non-residents alike are authorized to participate in the market.
Capital controls were fully liberalized in 1997, along with the foreign exchange market.
Restrictions on foreign exchange and profit repatriation
Foreigners can hold foreign exchange accounts and purchase FX at any commercial bank without the approval of the Bank of Uganda (BoU).
In Jan 2014, S&P lowered the long-term credit rating on Uganda to B in the fear that the budget deficit of the country will widen, and following the retreat of donors in 2012 due to allegations of corruption in the country.
List of Primary Dealers
The Primary Dealership system became operational in 2005. The BoU has appointed six primary dealers to receive bids from investors; they are:
Documents & Resources
Documents - Ministry of Finance
Documents - Central Bank
- Bank of Uganda Act (57 kB)
- Uganda_Auction_Procedures.pdf (204 kB)
- BoU-Fin_Stab-June_2014.pdf (1.57 MB)
- BoU-State_of_Eco-Mar_2015.pdf (1.00 MB)
- BoU-Supervis_Report_2014.pdf (1.17 MB)
- BoU_AR_2013-14.pdf (2.65 MB)
Documents - Stock Exchange
- USE-Equity_Trading_Rules-2015.pdf (4.66 MB)
Documents - Capital Market Regulator
- Capital Markets Authority Act (267 kB)
- Uganda_Cap_Mkts_Strat_plan-2013-16.pdf (2.28 MB)
- Uganda_CMA-AR_2014.pdf (2.67 MB)
Documents - Other sources
- Uganda_Vision_2040.pdf (21 MB)