Swedish Development Cooperation with Uganda

The Swedish government has approved a new strategy that forms the basis for development cooperation with Uganda 2014-2018.

With the strategy Sweden aims to strengthen the respect for human rights in Uganda, enhance the local population's opportunities to make a living and to obtain improved health as well as freedom from violence.

Result Strategy 2014-2018

The strategy has been earmarked 1 350 million SEK in order to obtain the following results:

-Strengthened democracy and gender equality, greater respect for human rights and freedom from oppression

- Better opportunities for people living in poverty to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and obtain a good education

- Improved basic health

- Safeguarding human security and freedom from violence

In addition, Sweden supports the development of Uganda's domestic research capacity with approximately 210 million SEK over four and a half years. The aim of the research cooperation, which is governed by a separate strategy is greater autonomy for the research system and improved analytical capacity in areas of importance to poverty reduction, democratic governance and peaceful resolution of internal armed conflicts.

Strategy for Research Cooperation and Research 2015-2021

The reason for Sweden's aid engagement in Uganda is widespread poverty and the lack of respect for human rights. Sweden has a long-standing aid commitment in Uganda and a long history of pursuing issues such as freedom of expression, women's autonomy and empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to contraception and the rights of LGBTIs.

Uganda's development plan NDP with its focus to increase growth and reduce poverty forms the basis for Sweden's support.

Additional information on the development cooperation and the general development in Uganda, is available at Sida’s webpage.

Strengthened democracy and gender equality, greater respect for human rights and freedom from oppresion

Like many other African countries, Uganda is struggling with weak democracy, inadequate capacity in many state institutions and lack of respect for human rights. Civil society has grown and become increasingly vibrant in recent years but capacity remains low and there is a trend towards shrinking space for civil society to operate. The democratic deficit, the lack of accountability, restrictions on civil and political rights, including freedom of expression and media freedom, and discrimination against vulnerable groups all constitute development challenges for Uganda.

Greater capacity of civil society to improve respect for civil and political rights

Sweden focuses on building the capacity of civil society actors that contribute to strengthening awareness on political and civil rights and how to execute them. 

Greater capacity of civil society to promote the conditions for citizens to influence political processes and demand accountability

Sweden focuses on interventions to strengthen capacity of civil society for better opportunities for citizens to access, influence and demand accountability and engage in political processes. 

Enhanced rule of law, with a focus on access to justice for people who live in poverty.

Sweden works towards equity in access to justice and greater respect for rule of law, primarily through the civil society.  The role of civil society will be increasingly important to ensure that people who live in poverty have access to legal aid and ensuring full respect for and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Better opportunites for people living in poverty to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and obtain a good education

The impressive growth of the Ugandan economy during the last decades has not resulted in corresponding reductions of poverty rates. Income inequalities are rising mainly because many Ugandans are excluded from the benefits of economic growth. In addition, Uganda has one of the region’s highest population growth rates at 3.2% annually, mainly due to a high fertility rate (6.7 children per woman) and decreased mortality. This translates into a high child-dependency ratio (52% of Uganda´s population is 15 years and below) and significant pressure on public resources.

Strengthened competitiveness among producers and suppliers of goods and services

Sweden supports the commercialization of agribusinesses and promoting inclusive business practices, focusing primarily on smallholder farmers but also other value chain actors.

Increased productive employment opportunities for women and young people

Sweden supports improved productivity and quality of employment, in the formal and informal economy. Swedish support therefore addresses binding constraints on both the demand side - job creation - and the supply side - the employability of the work force - and the interaction between the two. 

Increased access to and control of productive resources for women

Increased access to and control of productive resources for women is a mean to achieve strengthened competiveness and increased productive employment as well as to achieve increased economic empowerment for women. A focus on women’s rights and gender equality in all result areas ensures linkages between interventions and possibilities for creating synergies.

Better access to social safety nets for vulnerable children.

Sweden aims at supporting vulnerable children through their caregivers. The focus on better access to social safety nets for vulnerable children is part of Sweden’s holistic approach to inclusive economic growth.

Improved basic health

High population growth, together with major health challenges such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, places enormous strain on the health system in Uganda. There is a great need for improved access to child and maternal care, and this is an area where Sweden has significant expertise and a long presence in Uganda.

Improved access to high quality child and maternal care/ Improved access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and men, girls and boys

Sweden continues to support the health system in Uganda, building on our long-term engagement in the sector. The focus for Swedish support to health under the current strategy period is to contribute to improved access to maternal, adolescent and child health services, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services. These are areas where the development indicators are not progressing according to plans in Uganda.

The Swedish response in the health sector is holistic and aims to strengthen the health system through service delivery, prevention and promotion. Sweden contribute to comprehensive services with a focus on district level, where all health related facilities, goods and services are Available, Accessible, Acceptable, Appropriate, and of good Quality (AAAQ framework). Attention to capacity building in health system strengthening is given through institutional strengthening that includes leadership for quality service delivery with a focus on maternal and child health services as well as SRHR at district levels. It also includes increase in critical cadres for maternal, youth and child health, with a focus on midwives.

Key partners to implement health interventions (under the current strategy) are private-not-for-profit (PNFP) agencies. Partners are supported through pooled arrangements as well as direct programme and project support. Support to health services will be complemented by strategic and targeted support to innovative projects, for instance through public-private partnership arrangements.

The Swedish dialogue is focused on improvements in SRHR and decreases in maternal mortality such as access to safe abortions, non-discrimination to health services, emergency contraception, the role of midwives and no fees for maternal, child and adolescent health services.

Safeguarding human security and freedom from violence

Violence against women is widespread in Uganda, and Sweden will therefore make contributions to combat gender-based violence, in line with Security Council resolution No 1325 on women, peace and security. Sweden engages men and boys in order to reduce gender-based violence.

Research Cooperation

Swedish research cooperation is aimed at strengthening research of high quality and relevance for poverty reduction and sustainable development. The research cooperation with Uganda was initiated in 2000. Since then approx. 573 MSEK has been granted to Ugandan and  Swedish Universities for research cooperation.

The current 5-year research program started in November 2015 and amounts to 275 MSEK for 2015-2020. It aims to increase the production and use of scientifically based knowledge that contributes to Uganda's development. The support is focused on graduate education in medicine, humanities, social sciences, agriculture, mathematics and ICT for Development. Funding will be provided to 125 PhD students, 147 master's students and 65 scholarships for post-docs within the five year program.

The program consists of 17 research projects where Swedish Universities collaborates with Ugandan Universities. Makerere in Kampala is the largest research University in Uganda and has primary responsibility for the program. The other Ugandan partners are Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Kyambogo, Gulu and Busitema Universities. The research is based on Makerere’s own research agenda, linked to Uganda’s National Development Plan II.