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Uganda Begins Ninth Population Census Amid Technical Difficulties

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Mbeki edmond

May 12, 2024

On Friday, Uganda launched its ninth population census,

The census is a decennial event in Uganda, with the first held in 1911. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni emphasized the importance of the census during the launch at Kololo Independence Grounds, stating that it provides essential data for government planning. The insights from the census are expected to guide the evaluation of the National Development Plan III, which concludes in July, and will inform the development of future national strategies.
Two Ugandan men dressed in census personnels jackets

On Friday, Uganda launched its ninth population census, an event that follows recent censuses in neighboring East African countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya. This regional trend reflects significant demographic changes over the past decade.


However, the start of Uganda's census faced multiple challenges, including issues with the digital tools used in data collection. Faulty tablets, language barriers, public reluctance, adverse weather conditions, identification problems, and delayed payments have hampered the progress of this 10-day census, budgeted at Ush333 billion ($88 million). Despite these setbacks and the declaration of a public holiday to facilitate participation, little progress was noted by Friday afternoon.


The census management was quick to address these issues, with Alfred Geresom Musamali, the Publicity and Advocacy Advisor for the National Population and Housing Census 2024, apologizing for the early delays.

"We are encountering some technical difficulties with the Computer Aided Personal Interview (CAPI) machines, which are being used for the first time," Musamali explained, adding that efforts were ongoing to resolve these issues.

Dr. Chris Mukiza, the executive director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), reported that the census technology upgrade included the purchase of 120,000 portable personal computers with touch screens, acquired for Ush132 billion ($34m) through a United Nations-backed procurement process.


The census is a decennial event in Uganda, with the first held in 1911. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni emphasized the importance of the census during the launch at Kololo Independence Grounds, stating that it provides essential data for government planning. The insights from the census are expected to guide the evaluation of the National Development Plan III, which concludes in July, and will inform the development of future national strategies.


This year's census aims to answer critical questions about Uganda’s estimated 45.5 million residents: their numbers, locations, conditions, possessions, and access to services. The data gathered will play a crucial role in shaping Uganda's socio-economic strategies moving forward.

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