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Uganda's Economic Reforms: Insider Accounts [Hardcover]

Florence Kuteesa , Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile , Alan Whitworth , Tim Williamson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

3 Dec 2009
Following the eight year rule of Idi Amin, then several years of war and civil war, the Ugandan economy was in ruins by the time peace was restored in 1986. Since then Uganda has consistently been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, leading to a substantial reduction in poverty. Its economic success has attracted considerable attention and has arguably had more influence on development thinking and on the international aid architecture than any other country. The HIPC debt relief initiative, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, and the growth of budget support have all been strongly influenced by Ugandan experience and thinking. Ugandan innovations such as poverty reduction strategies, public expenditure tracking surveys, and virtual poverty funds have been widely adopted elsewhere.

Most of the reforms which transformed the economy originated within the Uganda government during the 1990s, rather than being imposed through donor conditionality. In this book, for the first time many of the architects of those reforms give their personal accounts of the thinking behind the reforms, how they were implemented, and their impact. Since measures that work well in one environment may fail when transplanted to a different environment, the authors identify factors that were critical to the success of Uganda's reforms. While a number of individual reforms have been the subject of academic study, this book represents the first consolidated account of the economic reforms undertaken by the Uganda government and their impact on growth and poverty reduction.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (3 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199556229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199556229
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Written by men and women 'insiders' in senior and crucial positions in the system, the narratives are as vivid and personal as the statistics are accurate and startling. (Yusuf Serunkuma, The Independent Uganda)

This book is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the processes that have lifted our economy out of the abyss to a place of hope. (Paul Busharizi, The New Vision)

A remarkable book... The strength of the book is its descriptive breadth covering 15 years and a wide range of reforms, and drawing on a large number of essential read for staff in international financial institutions and donor agencies who are interested in supporting reform. It would be an illuminating read for any student seeking to understand the political, institutional and technical ingredients of successful policy-making. And...the book would be an encouraging and informative read for reformers in other countries that are only now just emerging from fragility. (Marcus Manuel, Development Policy Review)

Students of economic reforms in Uganda, and indeed elsewhere on the continent, should keep this insightful book close at hand. (Joost Beuving, Journal of Modern African Studies)

About the Author

Florence Kuteesa is a Public Expenditure Management Advisor in the East Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centre of the International Monetary Fund, Dar es Salaam. From 1983 to 2004 she worked for the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile has been Governor of the Bank of Uganda since January 2001. His previous appointments include being Permanent Secretary / Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, 1998 to 2000. Alan Whitworth is an economist in the Zambian office of the British Government Department for International Development. He was an adviser in the Ugandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning between 1990 and 1995. Tim Williamson is an independent economic consultant based in Kampala, and a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute, London.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a remarkable book. It is the history of an extraordinary period of economic policy-making in Uganda - and Africa. It is also the inside story of how a small group of committed and visionary civil servants turned their country around.
The book's key authors all are - or were - part of the senior management team of the Ugandan Ministry of Finance and Planning, a small group of never more than ten people. Other contributors include expat advisers who worked in the Ministry. The book paints the history of reform across the whole spectrum of policies that the Ministry was responsible for - budget; planning; tax; debt; aid; fiscal decentralisation; public sector and public enterprise reform; statistics and poverty monitoring.
The context of the book is the fifteen years of misrule and conflict under Amin and Obote that turned one of Africa's most prosperous economies into one of the poorest. When Museveni came to power in 1986 he revalued the exchange rate and reimposed price controls and administration of the allocation of consumer goods. Ironically this led to several years of very high inflation. The reform story starts with the great, heated public policy debate that followed in 1989 and the subsequent bold decision in 1990 to unify the official and parallel exchange rates (at a rate much faster than that recommended by the IMF). The next key stage was the fiscal crisis of 1992 when inflation rapidly rose again to 200%. In response, Museveni appointed Tumusiime-Mutebile, a long-standing advocate of fiscal discipline, as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, moving him and his staff from the Ministry of Planning and merging both ministries in the process. The new Ministry started a tight monthly cash-flow release system and cut expenditures by 2% of GDP.
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