Studies in Reconstruction and Capacity Building in Post-conflict Countries in Africa: Some Lessons of Experience from Uganda

Post-colonial events in Uganda are easily divided into four periods corresponding to the dominant political regimes: the newly independent government under Milton Obote from 1963-71; the Amin era 1971-79; Obote 11 1980-85, the National Resistance Movement government 1986 to present. The three periods have had far reaching implications for the evolution of the capacity development in Uganda. Uganda had one of the most vigorous and promising economies and polities in sub-Saharan Africa at independence. Favored with good climate and fertile soils, the country was self-sufficient in food, with the agricultural sector being the largest earner of foreign exchange. Manufacturing produced the basic inputs and consumer goods and foreign exchange through the export of textiles and copper. The main problem during the early years of independence was the acute shortage of qualified and skilled manpower particularly for professional and technician posts which most non-Ugandans held. Today, seventeen years of reconciliation, policy reform, and policy recovery are a direct result of the interaction between a government which has created a benign environment of development, and donors who have provided generous support conditional on compliance with a standard package of structural adjustment policies involving changes in macro-economic management. These include the removal of price distortions on foreign exchange, capital, and essential commodities, improved fiscal and financial discipline, the reduction of marketing monopolies and state controls, and civil service reform. The government has, in turn, set up participatory political structures at national and local levels, restore law and order, and taken many of the unpopular decisions required to enforce the changes demanded by the adjustment policy.