Uganda - Ouganda (UG)

1.  Language information / Références

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées :

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

English. Swahili was made a second official language in 2005 (Wikipedia).

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Indigenous languages are not specifically noted by name in law [verify] but their importance is recognized.

Ethnologue lists 43 living languages at

The following map illustrates the distribution of languages in Uganda (it was created August 19, 2005 by Mark Dingemanse and is licensed & released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License):

c). Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Ganda (Luganda), Luo/Acholi/Lango, Runyakitara (includes Nyoro), Luyia, Teso/Turkana, Swahili

1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Uganda at

Bernsten (1998) discusses some aspects of Ugandan language policy.

b) Agencies / Agences :

Five institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in Uganda (UNESCO 1985). Updated information is needed:

  • Department of Languages, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7052 - KAMPALA
  • National Institute of Education, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7052 - KAMPALA
  • Curriculum Development Centre, P.O. Box 7002 - KAMPALA
  • OAU Bureau of Languages, P.O. Box 7284 - KAMPALA
  • Uganda Linguists and Authors Association, KAMPALA

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

Uganda is instituting a new bilingual education policy to begin primary education in maternal languages and transition to English after the 3rd year ("early exit" bilingual).

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 66.8%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

The Latin alphabet is used. A few languages use some additional modified letters (extended characters) or diacritics. A chart showing the extended Latin characters and diacritics used in some Ugandan languages is available at .

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, circulation, language). Updated information is needed:

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

The issue of Swahili as an official language of Uganda is somewhat complex. It is not indigenous to the country and is apparently spoken by fewer people than English. The decision seems to be based largely on concerns of optimal regional integration in the East African Community (EAC) - Swahili has official status and is widely spoken in two other EAC members, Kenya and Tanzania.

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines: 71,056 (Towards an African e-Index)
  • Mobile subscriptions: 1,040,127 (Towards an African e-Index)

"The mobile market is the biggest and has proved to be the fastest-growing market in Uganda during the past six years. There are currently 1,040,127 mobile customers against 71,056 fixed customers (Uganda Communications Commission, November 2004)." (Towards an African e-Index)

"The current and overwhelming conclusion from the survey is that mobile voice telephony is the exclusive means of communication for the typical Uganda citizen, and that there are hardly any fixed line services in peoples’ homes." (Towards an African e-Index)

Public payphones are also important. (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

"The spread of mobile phones has created a synergy with the spread of private FM radio stations, with more than 100 operational stations in Uganda providing near total national coverage in local languages. Where radio used to be a passive tool for development information dissemination, it has become an interactive public tool and discussion forum through the popular phone-in programmes. Daily programmes range from political debates and other topical issues to health issues, agriculture, education, gender issues and the environment." (Towards an African e-Index)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI :
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 3.1 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
    • Internet cafés, whose number is growing, are still very rare in rural areas" (Towards an African e-Index)
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 200,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 0.7% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"In terms of the overall population, ..., there is almost no access to and utilisation of computers and the Internet, especially outside the major urban centres." (Towards an African e-Index)

"Considering the liberal regulatory environment, the growth of the Internet and data market has remained below expectation. ...
"The low level of utilisation to date is largely attributed to a lack of awareness combined with high costs, limited points of access, lack of content relevant to the needs of the majority of the citizens and the high rate of illiteracy." (Towards an African e-Index)
One might also add another factor - lack of content and user interfaces in the first languages of the people.

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.15 (ITU 2006)

"Uganda’s relatively liberalised telecommunications sector has a number of positive attributes. These include good regulation; a fairly competitive and vibrant market; declining prices, dominated by the mobile platform; and a potentially successful rural communications development programme, which has recently been launched. The sector still faces a number of key challenges, including limited access and competition, relatively high prices (despite the downward trend), and hardly any Internet penetration." (Towards an African e-Index)

2.3  ICT Policy / Politique de TIC

"The national ICT policy framework defines the entry points for ICTs into the national development process by supporting the development targets and processes in other sectors, and being an economic sector in its own right. The national telecommunications policy and the infrastructure targets similarly respond to the national ICT policy framework. Proposed infrastructure needs and the rate of rollout have, therefore, been dictated by the planned rate of progress in sectors like education, health, agriculture and governance. Human development impact is expected to be the defining measure of success, with the extent of infrastructure only being an indicative measure." (Towards an African e-Index)

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is the regulator of the communications industry in Uganda.

"The Ugandan government recognises ICTs as a tool for social and economic development. This includes: reforming government service delivery; achieving transparency, accountability and credibility; providing effective access to information; broadening public participation and promoting democracy; facilitating research and development; and enhancing competitiveness in the global economy (NRM, 2006). ... The political will behind ICT development in Uganda has been manifested through numerous ICT-related government policies, programmes and laws since the 1990s. Recent reforms in the sector include the licensing of mobile phone companies and the separation of postal from communication services. Telecom markets have been deregulated, ICT trade liberalised, and taxes on computers abolished." (Torach et al in GISW 2007)

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Uganda" has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

A Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) has been set up by the government under the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). (Torach et al in GISW 2007)

IICD has a page on Uganda at . It has 17 projects in the sectors of education, good governance, health and livelihoods. Highlights include:

  • Training in partnership with TechnoBrain and Uganda Institute for Communication Technology (UICT)
  • DistrictNet
  • Information & Data Management for Rural Health Units
  • Improve competence for rural micro and small scale enterprises using ICTs
  • ICT maintenance facility for Rural Uganda
  • Agricultural Research and Information Network (ARRIN) - (set up information centres, called InfoPops, throughout Uganda)

The Africa Source II meeting, "Free and Open Source Software for Local Communities" was held in Kalangala on 8-15 January 2006

The Global Learning Portal (GLP) has apparently had a project for providing information online to teachers in Uganda.

2.5  Resources / Ressources

  • East African Centre for Open Source Software (EACOSS) (based in Kampala)
  • Uganda Institute of Information and Communcations Technology
  • Ugandan Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC)

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

  • A Mozilla web browser was localised in Ganda by ICT Translations - Uganda under the name of "Kayungirizi"

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Uganda," Africa ICT Policy Monitor, ("Politiques de TIC en/au Uganda," Observatoire des politiques des TIC en Afrique,

Bernsten, Jan. 1998. "Runyakitara: Uganda's 'New' Language." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 19(2): 93-107.

IICD, "Ndere supports Arrin in empowering farmers,"

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Ouganda,"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Uganda,"

Torach, Julius, Dorothy Okello, and Goretti Amuriat. "Uganda." Global Information Society Watch (GISW) 2007 Report

Tusubira, F.F. 2005. "Uganda." In Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, )

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

Wikipedia, "Communications in Uganda,"

______, "Languages of Uganda,"

< Tunisia | Countries | Zambia >