Ugandan youth experience low levels of wellbeing overall, but are civically engaged, and economic opportunities are growing in their country.
Uganda ranks in the bottom third of Index countries at 27th overall. The country performs in the top third of Index countries in the citizen participation and economic opportunity domains.
Uganda ranks 7th in the citizen participation domain. The country has a youth policy in place, and 31 percent of youth surveyed reported engaging in volunteer work in the past month. Additionally, the low age for office (18 years old) helps encourage youth participation in governance.
At 8th, Uganda ranks in the top third of Index countries in the economic opportunity domain. Real GDP growth averaged 7.3 percent between 2000 and 2010, placing Uganda amongst the fastest growing economies in the world. The country has a low youth unemployment rate—7 percent compared to the Index average of 17 percent. Early-stage entrepreneurial activity (roughly 36 percent) is higher than the Index average of 15 percent.
Uganda ranks 29th in the education domain. This rank is driven by the percentage of youth completing lower secondary education (29 percent), placing Uganda last for this indicator. Public spending on education is 12 percent, lower than other Sub-Saharan African economies such as Kenya (21 percent).
Ugandan youth do not have widespread access to the internet. The country ranks 29th in the information and communication technology domain. Internet access and digital skills are critical to competitiveness in today’s highly globalized world. Though it has followed an upward trend since 2005, only 20 percent of people report using the internet. Only 7 percent of youth say they have access to the internet at home.
Within the health domain, Uganda has a high rate of adolescent fertility. At 109 births per 1,000 young women, the rate is the second highest among Index countries. However, it has been following a consistent downward trend.
The Global Millennial Viewpoints Survey
Ugandan youth surveyed by IYF are optimistic about their economic opportunities. Eighty-three percent polled believe their future living standard will be better than that of their parents. This optimism is consistent across Index countries with low base standards of living and growing economies.
Views on the government and educational satisfaction are mixed. About 64 percent of Ugandan youth surveyed think that the government does not care about their wants and needs, which ranks Uganda at 11th for this particular indicator. However, about 76 percent of youth surveyed feel satisfied with the overall quality of the educational system or school where they live, despite the objective measures of education performance.
Within the health domain, 60 percent of Ugandan youth surveyed feel that their physical health is near perfect. Though this is a strong majority, Uganda ranks 24th on this indicator. Only 30 percent of youth surveyed felt that their lives are too stressful and a relatively low proportion (24 percent) are concerned with violence, abuse, harassment, or bullying at school or work. However, 48 percent of Ugandan women polled fear walking alone at night.