A good somewhat old review that asks the question. Essential reading for any one who cares. Though still a poor country, Uganda was by the end of the 1990s no longer a crisis economy.
However, even after a decade of reform-generated growth, per capita incomes are still lower
than in 1972. That is at the end of the only other long period of sustainable growth in recent
decades. It has yet to put behind it the legacy of the crisis years: political uncertainties, partly
owing to wide social and regional gaps, remain, while the country’s earlier reputation as a
high-risk business environment is not yet eliminated.
Still, the recent period of sustained peace has enabled a large portion of the population to be re-incorporated into the market economy and policymakers to embark on wide-ranging social and political reforms. In Uganda, the four decades since independence have recorded at least as many shifts in policy as, there have been, regime changes. The nationalist sentiment of the post-independence period led to in-ward looking policies based on import-substitution, central planning and licensing.
This culminated in the concentration of power in the central government and in nationalisation. When Amin took power in the early 1970s, a combination of erratic domestic policies and external shocks led to economic decline. Obote’s return to power at the beginning of the 1980s marked a reversal of the earlier emphasis on controls and
nationalisation. To encourage foreign investment, market-based policies were re-adopted.
However, the regime failed to establish a viable political coalition to ensure longevity.
Museveni assumed power in 1986 and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) government has had the longest spate in power of any regime since independence. The period has seen some of the most far-reaching political and economic changes in the country, beginning in 1987 with the launch of an economic reform programme supported by the World Bank and the IMF.
This chapter undertakes an overview of the main policy and institutional features which have
characterised the Ugandan economy since the early 1960s, with emphasis on the period of
economic reform that began in the second half of the 1980s. The chapter highlights the factors, both endogenous and exogenous, that influenced economic policy. It serves as a
general overview of the issues undertaken in the study as a whole.