Country Session 10: Uganda

Richard Newfarmer (IGC) and Sarah Ssewanyana (Economic Policy Research Centre) chaired the Uganda session. Robin Burgess (LSE and IGC) presented the results of the impact evaluation of a BRAC ‘adolescent club’ programme designed to empower adolescent girls against both health and economic challenges. While both components (knowledge building on risky health behaviours and vocational training) had both positive effects, the findings suggest that combining both interventions might yield sizeable improvements in girls’ lives.

Based on relatively optimistic assumptions about the general outlook in Uganda, John Hassler (IIES) argues for letting current generations share in the prosperity promised by the future oil revenues. Yet he emphasized that future income is uncertain and requires that many challenging choices be made successfully and temptations be avoided systematically. He added that the large current account deficits need to be addressed and government deficits should not be allowed to grow too fast. Transparency when it comes to spending oil revenues will be crucial.

Jakob Svensson (IIES and IGC) presented his on-going project on the market of (sake) seeds and fertilizers in Uganda to try to understand for the low intake of agricultural technology. Pilot exercises in Eastern Uganda suggest that all tested samples of fertilizers are lower in nitrogen content that they should have and 30 % of the seeds tested were identified as fake hybrids seeds that are two-fold less productive than authentic ones. Results from the full study will be available soon.

Ibrahim Kasirye (EPRC) and Clare Leaver (Oxford) discussed their research on how to best improve teacher attendance in Ugandan primary schools. Varying designs of monitoring mechanisms along two dimensions: (i) the identity of the monitor and (ii) the stakes attached to the report, the authors highlight that local monitoring improves teacher attendance but only when the head teacher is responsible for monitoring and there are financial incentives for teachers at stake. Findings also show that monitors understate teacher absenteeism, and parents even more so than head teachers. Preliminary results suggest that combining both head teacher and parents monitoring might be a cost effective way to improve teacher presence. Adam Mugume (Bank of Uganda), Albert Musisi (MoFPED, Uganda) and Peter Serneels (East Anglia) provided valuable insights on the various papers. Tessa Bold (IIES and IGC) presented the current IGC country programme and ideas for the way forward.