Uganda's reform program has been one of the most successful in Sub Saharan Africa since the mid-1980s. From an early stance of rejection (1986) and reluctance (1987-1992) the government moved to a situation of full ownership of market-based reforms. The government has achieved both stabilization and substantial control of the economy.
Torgny Holmgren, Louis Kasekende, Michael Atingi-Ego
and Daniel Ddamulira
Uganda's reform program has been one of the most
successful in Sub Saharan Africa since the mid-1980s.
>From an early stance of rejection (1986) and
reluctance (1987-1992) the government moved to a
situation of full ownership of market-based reforms.
The government has achieved both stabilization and
substantial decontrol of the economy. The basic
fundaments behind the successful reforms have been
strong political leadership, learning of own mistakes,
evolving government commitment and in recent years
broadening of the domestic ownership. A more active
policy dialogue is now taking place with different
stakeholders and the challenge ahead is to further
develop and sustain the reform program as well as to
deepen the domestic ownership.
Aid and external support has in various forms helped
support the generation and implementation of the
policy reforms. When the government first rejected and
later reluctantly introduced market-based reforms
policy dialogue, advisory services, training and
technical assistance were of critical importance both
for the decisions to reform and the direction of the
reforms. The government of Uganda has made
uncharacteristically good use of technical assistance.
Influences from Ghana and other countries were also
very valuable during this period. When the government
decided to reform in the late 1980s, financial aid and
conditionality became a main, and most powerful, cause
for the reform undertakings. Conditionality, which
earlier had been regarded as externally imposed, was
now being used by pro-reformers within the government
to help push the reforms. With a very weak revenue
base financial support was, and still is, necessary
for implementation of most reforms. However, since
1992 with secured government ownership conditionality
tends to become less relevant for inducing reforms.
Policy dialogue can again become the most important
donor instrument to support reform generation.
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