Office of the Prime Minister


Fast Tracking Uganda’s Commitment to the 2030 Agenda


Life on Land

Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent in 2015. But the pace of change is decelerating and the COVID-19 crisis risks reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. New research published by the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research warns that the economic fallout from the global pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the total human population. This would be the first time that poverty has increased globally in thirty years, since 1990.

More than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, the poverty rate in rural areas is 17.2 per cent—more than three times higher than in urban areas. 

For those who work, having a job does not guarantee a decent living. In fact, 8 per cent of employed workers and their families worldwide lived in extreme poverty in 2018. One out of five children live in extreme poverty. Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is critical to reduce poverty.



What’s the goal here?

To end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.


More than 700 million people, or 10% of the world population, still live in extreme poverty and is struggling to fulfill the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Worldwide, the poverty rate in rural areas is 17.2 per cent—more than three times higher than in urban areas.

Having a job does not guarantee a decent living. In fact, 8 per cent of employed workers and their families worldwide lived in extreme poverty in 2018.

Poverty affects children disproportionately. One out of five children live in extreme poverty. Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is critical to reduce poverty.

Why is there so much poverty in the world?

Poverty has many dimensions, but its causes include unemployment, social exclusion, and high vulnerability of certain populations to disasters, diseases and other phenomena which prevent them from being productive.

I’m not poor. Why should I care about other people’s economic situation?

There are many reasons, but in short, because as human beings, our well-
being is linked to each other. Growing inequality is detrimental to economic growth and undermines social cohesion, increasing political and social tensions and, in some circumstances, driving instability and conflicts.

Can we actually achieve this goal?

Yes. To end extreme poverty worldwide in 20 years, economist Jeffrey Sachs calculated that the total cost per year would be about $175 billion. This represents less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world.

So what can I do about it?

Your active engagement in policymaking can make a difference in addressing poverty. It ensures that your rights are promoted and that your voice is heard, that
inter-generational knowledge is shared, and that innovation and critical thinking are encouraged at all ages to support transformational change in people’s lives and communities.

Governments can help create an enabling environment to generate productive employment and job opportunities for the poor and the marginalized. They can formulate strategies and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth, and reduce poverty.

The private sector, as an engine of economic growth, has a major role to play in determining whether the growth it creates is inclusive and hence contributes to poverty reduction. It can promote economic opportunities for the poor, focusing on segments of the economy where most of the poor are active, namely on micro and small enterprises and those operating in the informal sector.

The academic and education community have a major role in increasing the awareness about the impact of poverty. Science provides the foundation for new and sustainable approaches, solutions and technologies to tackle the challenges of reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. The contribution of science to end poverty has been significant. For example, it has enabled access to safe drinking water, reduced deaths caused by water-borne diseases, and improved hygiene to reduce health risks related to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.

To find out more about Goal #1 and other Sustainable Development Goals visit:


Target   1.1          By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

Indicator 1.1.1   Proportion of population below the international poverty line, by sex, age, employment status and geographical location (urban/rural)

Target   1.2          By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Indicator 1.2.1   Proportion of population living below the national poverty line, by sex and age

Indicator 1.2.2   Proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Target   1.3          Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

Indicator 1.3.1  Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems, by sex, distinguishing children, unemployed persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, newborns, work-injury victims and the poor and the vulnerable

Target 1.4            By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

Indicator 1.4.1   Proportion of population living in households with access to basic services

Indicator 1.4.2   Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure

Target 1.5            By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

Indicator 1.5.1  Number of deaths, missing persons and persons affected by disaster per 100,000 people

Indicator 1.5.2  Direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP)

Indicator 1.5.3  Number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies

Target 1.A           Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

Indicator 1.A.1  Proportion of resources allocated by the government directly to poverty reduction programmes

Indicator 1.A.2  Proportion of total government spending on essential services (education, health and social protection)

Target 1.B            Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

Indicator 1.B.1  Proportion of government recurrent and capital spending to sectors that disproportionately benefit women, the poor and vulnerable groups

MD. Mazharul Islam

Indicators reported on in the Voluntary National Review

1.2.1 Proportion of population below the national poverty line

1.3.1 Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems

1.4.1 Proportion of population living in households with access to basic services

1.4.2 Proportion of titled land, percent coverage of land information system, proportion of land titles issued by type (region, gender, and rural/urban, and percentage change in the number of land titles registered (sex, region and rural/urban)

1.5.1 Number of deaths, missing persons, and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 people



  • Over the last decade, Uganda has registered impressive gains in poverty reduction, with an estimated 31.2 percent reduction in the national poverty rate between 2006 and 2017.15
  • Rural poverty declined from 34.2 percent to 25.3 percent, while the poverty rate in urban areas fell marginally from 13.7 percent to 9.3 percent over the same period.
  • Approximately 79 percent of total poverty reduction between 2006 and 2013 was in households in the agriculture sector, mainly on account of favourable prices and improvements in yield and farm productivity.
  • Favourable prices reflect improvements in market efficiency that resulted from sound policies and programmes. These include investments in infrastructure, growing demand in the East Africa region, post-war recovery efforts in Northern Uganda, and urbanization, which accounted for 10 percent of poverty reduction during that period.
  • Owing to the prolonged drought experienced in most parts of the country in 2016, while declining poverty rates has been the overall trend, the proportion of poor people increased from 19.7 percent in 2012/13 to 21.4 percent in 2016/17 (representing 8.03 million Ugandans in poverty).
  • The poverty rate among refugees is more than twice as high as for the host communities. 46 % of the refugee population are poor.
  • The country continues to experience frequent extreme weather events, such as heavy floods in the Eastern and Western regions, which significantly erode gains from government investment in agriculture and other sectors aimed at improving the welfare of the population.
  • Progress in reducing poverty has been slow in the Northern and Eastern regions. Between 2006 and 2013, the proportion of the country’s poor living in those regions went up from 68 percent to 84 percent. However, between 2013 and 2017, the Eastern region began to trail the Northern region, in part because of growing susceptibility to climatic shocks.
  • While overall, the proportion of the population living in poverty is declining, the absolute number of people in poverty is increasing, largely due to increasing population growth. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of poor people in both rural and urban areas grew at 4.5 percent per annum, exceeding the population growth rate of 3.2 percent.
  • Adding to the mixed progress on poverty reduction is the growing level of income inequality. Currently, over 23 million people,19 accounting for approximately 63 percent of the population, are vulnerable to poverty.20 Under current circumstances, the vulnerable population is projected to increase to 30.6 million by 2030.
  • There have been general improvements in housing conditions, a critical factor in poverty reduction as poverty is multidimensional.
  • Households may be deprived in areas other than income, and household living conditions and access to basic services are key indicators. The proportion of households that used canister wick lamps for lighting declined from 66 percent in 2012/13 to 28 percent in 2016/17, largely attributed to increased access to and use of grid electricity (22 percent) and solar energy (18 percent).
  • Access to safe water has improved from 68 percent in 2013 to 78 percent in 2017, with the highest coverage in Eastern region (89.9 percent), compared with 82.7 percent in Northern, 76.6 percent in Central, and 64.7 percent in Western regions.
  • However, the continued reliance on biomass (above 90 percent of the population) as a main source of cooking energy is continuing to threaten public health and the environment and is indicative of persistent financial and resource inaccessibility of alternative options.
  • These generally positive trends, especially in electricity and water supply services, are largely attributed to significant Government investments in rural electrification and water supply over the last 15 years. For example, achievements in water supply have helped to prevent the spread waterborne diseases, with significant impacts on health care costs, economic productivity, and human welfare.
  • In addressing the many vulnerabilities faced by the population, the Government is increasingly recognizing the importance of investing in social protection programmes. Although still limited, one empowerment programme has expanded social protection for 201,168 older persons (21.62 percent)
    aged over 64 years in 61 districts. Efforts are needed to cover the entire eligible population of 1.05 million older persons across the country.
  • Social protection is also limited for more than 90 percent of the population employed in the informal sector, which operates outside of government regulation. This calls for investment in incentives for the formalization of the economy, with emphasis on social protection schemes for employees.
  • Population growth is increasing pressure on land in rural areas and making more people more vulnerable. Unclear land rights are also contributing to unguided urbanization and the degradation of natural resources. Cognizant of these challenges, government policies on poverty eradication, investment, infrastructure development and the modernization of agriculture have elevated land ownership issues to the top of the national development agenda. For instance, improvements in land registration have resulted into 14.3 percentage point increase in the population with titled land from 21.7 percent in 2016 to 36 percent in 2017.
  • There has also been progress in female land ownership from 16 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2012. However, discriminatory practices continue to reinforce women’s dependence on men in securing land rights, since legal provisions require land transactions to have the written consent of the male spouse and the Area Land Committee.

The Way Forward

  • To accelerate poverty reduction efforts and ensure that no one is left behind, Uganda will undertake several measures, which include, among others:
  • Targeted investment in production and productivity for priority food commodities to reduce vulnerability to shocks.
  • Implementation of the regional development programme adopted in NDPIII to address regional disparities.
  • Streamlining and broadening the scope of social protection programmes by providing direct income support to vulnerable households, especially those headed by children and those with children or adults with disabilities.
  • Expanding access to and quality of basic services such as water, electricity and housing.
  • Strengthening the collection, dissemination, and utilization of disaggregated data to ensure that No One is Left Behind.