Is Uganda's Middle Class Strong enough to Deliver National Aspirations?

Uganda envisioned to become a lower middle-income status by 2020 as a foundation for achieving vision 2040. Policies, including the National Development Plan (NDP), were instituted to drive the aspiration. However, the target was not achieved during NDPII (2015-2020). Building a strong middle class is a crucial strategy for achieving the target, as we advance into NDPIII (2020-2025). This brief provides insights into the size and strength or ability of the middle class, to drive the middle-income agenda and prerequisites for building or driving transition into a strong and stable lower middle-income status country. Using the 2016/17 Uganda National Household Survey, the analysis shows that the size of the middle class (without those in floating category) is about 8.3 million, which is 22% of the population. This is a more than two-fold increase from 2012/13. Considering those in floating middle-class category, the size of the middle class becomes 21 million, indicating that majority (61%) of Uganda’s middle class (over 13 million) are floating and susceptible to becoming poor in case of any negative economic shock occurring. The analysis further reveals that transition into the middle class is driven by urbanization, household size, economic activity, and education as a tool for human capital development. In conclusion, Uganda’s middle class is highly fragile. Therefore, the middle class in Uganda is a weak one, incapable of driving the economy to achieve and sustain the middle-income status goal.