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In Uganda we address the economic dimensions of peace and conflict, with a particular focus on the new oil industry and the northern Uganda recovery process.

We monitor the impact of the government-led Peace, Recovery and Development Plan on peace and conflict in northern Uganda. We promote transparency, accountability and conflict-sensitivity in the oil industry. We also work with business leaders, the government, civil society and communities to ensure that business and investment support peace.

Our work is important because the unequal and ethnically-charged distribution of resources and economic opportunities are contributing to mounting tensions and conflict in the country.

We have been working in Uganda since 1987.


After decades of conflict, Uganda is now a relatively peaceful country. The government’s Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) has made substantial progress in establishing peace and stability in the war affected northern region. The economy is improving and levels of poverty are decreasing. Regional trade has reopened and expanded, including with South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, the country still faces a number of challenges to lasting peace.

The discovery of oil and gas in Uganda has the potential to transform the country’s economy. But there is concern in Uganda and neighbouring DRC that competition over natural resources could fuel local and regional conflict more. In addition, many of those communities affected or uprooted by the industry do not feel they are being adequately compensated for their land and property.

The country has also experienced frequent urban riots. The riots are caused by a mix of political, cultural and economic factors, and have disrupted daily life, damaged property and resulted in the loss of life. Urban markets and cultural sites in cities and towns across the country have also been burnt down in suspected arson attacks. Furthermore, there are ongoing ethnic divisions throughout the country. In fact, young people more commonly identify with their ethnicity, religion and culture than with their country.

Uganda also faces a series of regional threats. The relocation of the Lord’s Resistance Army and Allied Democratic Forces into DRC, South Sudan and the Central African Republic has destabilised the wider region but also increased the number of refugees in Uganda. This is exacerbated by fighting between the government and M23 rebels in neighbouring DRC and Tanzania’s expulsion of Rwandan refugees. Uganda’s participation in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has also attracted attention from the Somali-based terrorist group, Al Shabaab, which in 2010 carried out suicide attacks in Kampala.

Some key ways of strengthening peace in Uganda therefore include ensuring that the PRDP is successfully implemented, helping the oil and gas industry to have a more positive impact on communities and addressing the grievances of the country’s youth, in particular unemployment. Any efforts also need to appreciate the interconnected nature of conflict in the Great Lakes region.

Changing the game in Uganda

Alert's Country Manager Richard Businge talking at the festival

Earlier this month, International Alert took part in celebrations to mark the 3rd Annual National Youth Festival in Uganda.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Changing the game’ and was designed to “rally young people to be positive drivers of social, political, and economic change”.  The event took place at the National Theatre in Kampala on 31 August-1 September and was attended by close to 4,000 young people. It featured keynote addresses from distinguished guests, including US Ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi.

Advisory Consortium on Conflict Sensitivity

The Advisory Consortium on Conflict Sensitivity (ACCS) is designed to assist the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and its partners in strengthening the potential of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP), helping them to effectively address the drivers of conflict and contribute to peace. ACCS was formed with the support of DFID and is led by International Alert, the Refugee Law Project and Saferworld.

Oil, business and borders

During the past three months, International Alert has been working with local partners in Uganda to understand the challenges facing local communities in the country’s fledgling oil region.

Peace and conflict in northern Uganda

Our latest research in Uganda examines the impact of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) on peace and conflict in the region.