14 December 2006

Uganda: Poverty Levels Reduce

Kampala — POVERTY has considerably reduced countrywide, the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2005/06 indicates.

The survey conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), reveals that the countrywide poverty rate has reduced to 31% from 39%.

The survey titled Nature, Distribution and Evolution of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda builds on the work presented in Where are the poor? Mapping patterns of Well-being in Uganda in 1992 and 1999 also by UBOS.

According to James Muwonge, the Principal Statistician at UBOS, the reduction in poverty rates can be attributed to factors that include improvement in agricultural income in the form of a rise in coffee prices.

This income, it was found out, is spent on expenses such as paying school fees and medical care.

Mr Muwonge said the survey was based on random selection of households in each village."

Regionally, it was noted that the poor are not evenly distributed across areas and regions. Basing on the 2002 Population and Housing Census, the Northern region presents the highest levels of poverty (60.3%) and the central region appears the least poor with 27.4% of the population poor.

The western region comes second (33.4%) to the central region while the eastern region is third (44.8%) coming third.

The estimates exclude Pader, which was at that time left out due to insecurity.

The 2002/03 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) covered about 9711. Basing on this measure, the poor are looked at as those below the poverty line.

And the 2002/03 survey indicated that about 12.7% of the rural population and 14.4% of the urban population in Uganda are living below the poverty line.

The researchers advised that these findings could be used to target more appropriate allocation of different resources for different areas.

They pointed out that for many years, the government has been allocating resources directly to districts and communities without a scientific basis. "The analysis of poverty and different key sectors using small area estimation techniques will provide information that will align partners within Uganda - government and donors - to develop a cross-sectoral strategy aimed at maintaining the welfare of the non-poor while reducing the incidence of poverty among the poor," the survey report says.

The final report will be released later this year.

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