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Uganda has achieved remarkable progress over the past years. High economic growth, per capita income, access to primary education and to safe water have improved life expectancy and reduced poverty considerably.
Despite these general achievements, the North of the country still has a lot of catching up to do after the end of the 20-year conflict. For many years, the Lord's Resistance Army had terrorized the region's population. Close to two million people were displaced. Most of them have now returned to their villages where basic infrastructure such as schools, health stations and access to potable water is still being rebuilt. Social roles and traditional structures are slowly adapting to the new circumstances. Violence, particularly against women, and land disputes are major problems. Austria supports the population of the post-conflict region of Northern Uganda in their efforts of reconstruction and development through the funding of programmes and projects in water supply and sanitation, peace building, restoration of security and justice, coping with traumatic experiences and reconciliation. Numerous initiatives of Civil Society Organisations are set in this area.
Uganda chooses to rely on strong economic growth for its development and seeks to stimulate growth through investments targeting transport and energy, increased agricultural production and an enhanced private sector. This requires a healthy, well educated population and a political environment based on the Rule of Law, participation and social cohesion. This is why good governance and the strengthening of the Rule of Law are an important part of the cooperation between Austria and Uganda. The second pillar of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) in Uganda is Water and Sanitation. Austria's expertise and long experience makes it an important partner to Uganda in these sectors. Austria is also a respected development partner in the donor community in Uganda and regularly acts as lead donor in the water sector.
Austria's relations with Uganda started in the early 1980s. Since then, the two countries have experienced close development cooperation and lively cultural exchange with the involvement of government institutions, non-governmental organizations and many dedicated individuals. Austria established a foreign office for development cooperation in Kampala in 1991. Since 1993, Uganda has been a priority country for the ADC.