External Involvement in Uganda’s Economy

Pre-colonial comparative advantages enabled communities in Eastern and Central Africa to produce surplus agricultural and manufactured products that were exchanged in local and regional markets to meet their needs.

Colonial regimes changed these mutually reinforcing and complementary arrangements. The colonial comparative advantage demanded that all African countries specialize in the production of raw materials for export in exchange for manufactured products from the metropolitan countries such as Britain, France and Belgium.

In Uganda as elsewhere pre-colonial manufacturing enterprises were outcompeted by imports and disappeared. The production of cotton, coffee, tea and tobacco for export took away Uganda’s fertile land and economically active labor particularly of male workforce from the production of balanced food for domestic consumption.