Internal conflicts, dictatorship, and economic disintegration characterized the first twenty-five years of Uganda’s independence from British colonial rule, which culminated in the reign of Idi Amin and a violent civil war. The country has since achieved an astounding turnaround of stability and growth. Advancing the Ugandan Economy is a first-hand look at the remarkable policy changes that took place from 1986 to 2012 and their effect in contrast with the turbulent events after independence.
Ezra Suruma held several key positions in the Ugandan government during the nation’s transition period, including minister of finance. His insightful recounting of those times demonstrates that African countries can achieve economic stability and sustain rapid growth when they meet at least two interdependent conditions: establishing a stable and secure political framework and unleashing entrepreneurialism. Suruma also highlights the strategic areas that still require fundamental reform if Uganda is to become a modern state and shares his vision for the future of his country.
Rarely in African history has so much positive political and economic transformation of a country been achieved in such a short time. Suruma’s account of the commitment, determination, vision, and dexterity of the Ugandan government holds invaluable lessons in managing the still complex policy challenges facing the African continent.
Masahiro Kawai, Eswar S. Prasad
November 2, 2011
Ezra Sabiti Surma is a senior presidential adviser on finance and planning in Uganda. Previously, he served as the country's minister of finance (2005–09). He was a visiting fellow at Brookings with the Africa Growth Initiative from 2010 to 2011.