Despite its economic progress, Uganda is still one of the least developed countries in the world.
The latest report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) lists Uganda as one of the 49 least developed countries in the world.
The list of least developed countries is reviewed every three years by the UN Economic and Social Council. It assesses countries based on human indicators like nutrition, health, school enrolment and literacy. It also studies economic vulnerability to natural disasters and trade shocks; exposure to shocks, economic smallness, and economic remoteness.
A country is removed from least developed country status if it manages to achieve the minimum targets of these two areas. Between December 2003 and December 2007 only one country, Cape Verde, has graduated from the list.
In the East African Community only Kenya is not on the list of least developed countries. 33 of the least developed countries are in Africa, 10 are in Asia, 5 are in the Pacific and one country, Haiti, is in the Caribbean.
In its report, UNCTAD recommends that the world's poorest countries should have greater control and flexibility over how the foreign aid they receive. It says rules and conditions attached to this incoming money should not be so stringent -- or so tied to meeting economic targets -- that governments are hindered from tailoring development plans that meet local and national conditions.
The notion of ownership is at the heart of the partnership approach to development cooperation elaborated internationally since 2000. The principle has received strong political support at the highest level, such as from the Group of 8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005.
This year's Least Developed Countries Report is subtitled "Growth, poverty and the terms of the development partnership." The study says that while foreign aid can help mobilize domestic resources so that they spur economic progress, such aid is not an engine for long-term development.
The report recognizes that Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers have become the main instrument by which aid donors and recipient governments fashion development plans. The World Bank has hailed Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers from Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Afghanistan as having strong aid-management components.