Scholarly article on topic 'Beyond the Poverty Agenda? Insights from the New Politics of Development in Uganda'

Beyond the Poverty Agenda? Insights from the New Politics of Development in Uganda Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

Share paper
Academic journal
World Development
OECD Field of science
{Uganda / Africa / poverty / "paradigm shift" / "developmental state" / IFIs}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Sam Hickey

Summary The politics of development has shifted significantly in recent years, with largely negative implications for the poverty agenda. This is particularly apparent in countries like Uganda where “poverty reduction papers” have been displaced by national development plans aimed at “structural transformation,” driven by the discovery of oil, the growing influence of rising powers vis-à-vis traditional donors and domestic political shifts. Although this heralds the possibility of deeper national ownership over development policy, international financial institutions have adopted strategies to maintain their influence. Moreover, Uganda currently lacks the underlying political capacities and relationships required to roll out this ambitious new agenda.

Academic research paper on topic "Beyond the Poverty Agenda? Insights from the New Politics of Development in Uganda"


World Development Vol. 43, pp. 194-206, 2013 © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

0305-750X/$ - see front matter

Beyond the Poverty Agenda? Insights from the New Politics

of Development in Uganda


University of Manchester, UK

Summary. — The politics of development has shifted significantly in recent years, with largely negative implications for the poverty agenda. This is particularly apparent in countries like Uganda where "poverty reduction papers" have been displaced by national development plans aimed at "structural transformation," driven by the discovery of oil, the growing influence of rising powers vis-a-vis traditional donors and domestic political shifts. Although this heralds the possibility of deeper national ownership over development policy, international financial institutions have adopted strategies to maintain their influence. Moreover, Uganda currently lacks the underlying political capacities and relationships required to roll out this ambitious new agenda. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Key words — Uganda, Africa, poverty, paradigm shift, developmental state, IFIs


The politics of development underwent significant shifts during the first decade of the 21 century. The moment of poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals, which from 1999 appeared to join if not fully displace market-driven neoliberalism in the Post-Washington Consensus (PWC) (Onis & Senses, 2005), now seems to have given way to a more ambitious development agenda aimed at "structural transformation." A series of factors, including the financial crisis of 2008, the leftist wave in Latin America, and the new resources and ideas made available by both the growing influence of rising powers and also new natural resource finds in several countries, have undermined both the ideological and institutional basis of the PWC, and offered developing countries the possibility of devising more productivist and nationally-owned development strategies (e.g., Birdsall & Fukuyama, 2011; Grugel & Riggirozzi, 2012; Power & Mohan, 2010; Whitfield, 2009). These shifts have loosened the influence of those most clearly aligned with the promotion of both neoliberal policies and the poverty agenda, including transnational corporations (for neoliberalism) and many traditional donors (for both). In an important book on the politics of aid in Africa, Lindsay Whitfield notes that the international and ideological conditions are increasingly in place for a new, more autonomous approach development policy to take hold within Africa, and that many developing countries:

rejected by developing country governments in favor of a return to a national development planning approach, a shift that encompasses Asia (e.g., Cambodia), Latin America (e.g., Nicaragua, Bolivia), and Africa (e.g., Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia). Even where PRSP-speak remains in place, as in Ghana, the emphasis has changed to "Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy," and to achieving middle-income status rather than simply alleviating poverty.

However, the image of Africa taking control of its development agenda has become further confused since Whitfield's important intervention as the World Bank has apparently shifted its ideological position to embrace the new paradigm. In a speech at Georgetown University in September 2010 the President of the World Bank noted that "As economic tectonic plates have shifted, paradigms must shift too... This is no longer about the Washington Consensus (but about) securing transformation." In response to the drivers outlined above, and possibly also its own research into development success, 1 the Bank now promotes a "new structural economics" (Lin, 2010), which promises a more ambitious development agenda that is more carefully tailored and contextualized to the specific characteristics of particular countries.

Uganda's new National Development Plan (NDP) is a particularly interesting exemplar of this new politics of development, in ways that has resonance beyond its borders. Launched in 2010, the NDP emerged in response to shifts in

"have started kicking against the limited vision of the Millennium Development Goals, the narrow poverty focus on PRSPs, and to some extent aid-funded growth, and some are clearly looking outside Africa for ideological inspiration" (Whitfield, 2009, p. 367).

However, she concludes that ".. .these trends have not yet made their mark in terms of inspiring governments" development plans, strategies, or public policies' (op. cit.). This paper argues that we can now see these developments playing out in Africa, and also that the new paradigm of development as "structural transformation" appears to be gaining more traction at the national level than the PWC managed to achieve, despite the rhetoric of "ownership" that accompanied its emblematic modality, namely the poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) experiment. PRSPs have been increasingly

I am very grateful to all of those who have contributed their time and insights to this research, particularly those working in Uganda who agreed to repeat meetings over the last few years. Many thanks also to Badru Bukenya, a Ph.D. candidate at IDPM, for his excellent research assistance on this project since 2010. This version of the paper has benefited from the insightful comments of Keith Muhakanizi, Simon Kenny, Kasingye Ky-amugambi, David Rider-Smith, Martin Brownbridge, Godfrey Bahiigwa, Richard Ssewakiryanga, and Adam Branch. Useful comments were also received during presentations of various versions of this paper in Kampala, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield. This research has been carried out within the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, which was funded from 2001 to 2010 by the United Kingdom Department for International Development. The analysis and arguments are the author's alone. Final revision accepted: September 7, 2012.

the politics and political economy of development in Uganda, at national and global levels, which effectively undermined the key drivers and relationships that had underpinned the poverty agenda. Having been once considered the showcase of liberalization under the Washington Consensus and then of poverty reduction under the PWC, the question thus arises once more as to whether Uganda is again showcasing a new development paradigm, as the Government of Uganda claims, based on greater national ownership and more progressive possibilities in terms of both accumulation and redistribution. Uganda's new five-year Plan refers not to "poverty" but to "transformation" and "prosperity," terms which had already been popularized by President Museveni during the 2006 election campaign and which broadly reflect a "Southern Consensus" (Gore, 2000) that appears to owe more to learning lessons from East Asia than Washington.

However, whether this constitutes a new paradigm for development remains a moot point. Although more clearly owned and controlled by the government of Uganda than the erstwhile Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), the international financial institutions (IFIs) have remained influential in shaping both the process and content of the NDP (Sheppard & Leitner, 2010), in part through the ideological re-invention noted above. And while the achievement of structural transformation should lead to more sustainable forms of poverty reduction over the long-run, the redistributive aspects of this new agenda remain poorly articulated, particularly in terms of employment and agriculture. The forthcoming flow of oil wealth offers significant challenges as well as opportunities for this agenda, particularly in terms of achieving laborintensive growth and avoiding the governance problems associated with oil (Ross, 2012). Over the longer-term, then, it is unclear as to which types of capital accumulation and associated forms of political order (Ferguson, 2006) will prevail in Uganda as it moves to exploit the significant reserves of oil that should start to flow later this decade. As such, Uganda reflects and reveals the more general ambiguities that characterize many African countries within this new ideological and political economy context (Carmody, 2009).

The paper proceeds as follows. Section 2 briefly outlines the politics that underpinned the poverty agenda in Uganda from around 1996 until the mid-2000s, before identifying a number of key changes within the politics of development which converged around 2005-06. Section 3 details the process through which the NDP was produced, highlighting the continuities and discontinuities with the usual PRSP-process, and assesses the influence of the Plan over subsequent budgetary allocations. Section 4 discusses whether the NDP agenda can be considered to be pro-poor and whether it reflects a paradigmatic shift within development thinking. Section 5 explores the question of who controls the new development agenda in Uganda, and (briefly) whether this new development agenda is likely to be implemented, before Section 6 concludes.

The evidence for this paper draws on successive research trips to Uganda between 2005 and 2011, the most recent being over May-June 2010, February 2011, and June 2011. The research included over 80 interviews with key informants drawn from all institutional stakeholders, including government, donor agencies, parliamentarians, local government officials, and civil society (including journalists, academics, and officials of non-governmental organizations or NGOs). These visits were largely timed to fit with key moments in the NDP process, including the first meetings of the PEAP-revision process in 2007, the shift in leadership over the process from the Ministry of Finance to the National Planning Authority (NPA) in 2008, the launch of the NDP in the spring of 2010, the 2011 elections

and both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 budget speeches. This enabled direct insights into the process as it unfolded (e.g., participation in the first NDP planning meeting in May 2010 after the NDP launch in April) and when events were still fresh in respondents' minds. Successive drafts of this paper were then circulated to key insiders in the process in order to ensure as much accuracy as possible.


(a) The politics of the poverty agenda: 1996-2006

Uganda's much vaunted "ownership" of the global poverty agenda is often discussed in terms of the country's PEAP, the country's forerunner of the PRSP-experiment. Along with further measures taken to promote and protect pro-poor expenditures in the budgetary process (e.g., Foster & Mijumbi, 2001; Piron & Norton, 2004), most notably the Poverty Action Fund which ring-fenced finance from debt-relief for areas of government expenditure deemed to be pro-poor, expenditure in the areas of education and health increased from 18% to 35% of the budget between 1997 and 2005 (Piron & Norton, 2004, p. 14). The sense of Uganda as a paragon of pro-poor politics (Mosley, 2012) was further underlined by its earlier success in significantly reducing poverty and vulnerability during the 1990s, most notably through the liberalization of coffee marketing (Dijkstra & van Donge, 2001) and also the strong role played by President Museveni in reducing the prevalence of HIV-AIDS (Putzel, 2004) .

However, the story was never quite so straightforward, not least in the apparent air-brushing of the long-running civil conflict in the North and the Government's complicity with this (Branch, 2005). It is also now increasingly clear that the consensus around poverty reduction in Uganda that developed in the late 1990s was only held together by a particular set of political and political economy circumstances. Uganda's high-level of indebtedness and dependence on foreign aid was critical here: the fact that around half of the entire budget was externally financed for much of the 1990s meant that donors wielded a large influence over the government's policy direction, including those donors such as World Bank and DFID who were both powerful in Uganda and the most enthusiastic promoters of the new poverty agenda (Hulme, 2010). At the same, donors were looking for a success story which could be used to justify their new approach, and were willing to overlook the Government's tendencies in other areas, most notably the opposition to multi-party politics, growing levels of corruption and military involvement in the Congo. This symbiotic relationship was re-enforced following the 9/11 bombings in 2001, whereupon President Museveni reposi-tioned his struggle against rebels in northern Uganda as part of the global "war on terror," and received significantly increased support from the United States in return (Hickey, 2003, 38).

This convergence of transnational and domestic political imperatives around a pro-poor policy agenda was particularly apparent during the late 1990s with the early adoption of the PRSP, an agenda that was taken up enthusiastically by both the Ministry of Finance and civil society organizations as well as promoted by donors, the three sides of what Gould (2005) has referred to as the "iron triangle" of PRSP-processes.2 Donors had long concentrated their efforts on building up levels of capacity and commitment within Uganda's Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED), and

a key cohort of bureaucrats bought strongly into the poverty-related reforms (Mugambe, 2010), from the integration of poverty diagnostics into policy-making through to the protection of poverty-related expenditures in budgetary processes. However, domestic politics also played a key role in shaping development policy in Uganda. The Presidential and no-party parliamentary elections of 1996 and 2001 provided timely incentives for the executive to introduce populist reforms couched in the language of poverty reduction. The most notable of these were the introduction of Universal Primary Education after the 1996 elections and the abolishment of user fees in health around the 2001 polls, both of which resulted from grassroots campaigning and presidential initiatives rather than through formal PEAP consultations. Such reforms were further enabled by the largely untrammeled policy-making powers offered by the no-party, and increasingly presiden-tialized nature of the political system.

However, the drivers of the poverty agenda in Uganda were not entirely instrumental and self-interested. Several stakeholders clearly held an ideological commitment to poverty reduction at some level, including donors, NGOs, bureaucrats and, in broad terms at least, the President, who had long articulated a vision of development as located within a broader agenda of nation-rebuilding (Hickey, 2005; NRM, 1999; Piron & Norton, 2004). Heralding the shift explored here, some earlier policy initiatives had been explicitly framed in terms of "modernization" rather than poverty reduction, as with the ambitious Plan for the Modernization of Agriculture (Bahiigwa, Rigby, & Woodhouse, 2005). 3

This convergence of political and political economy factors took tangible form on the ground through specific relationships between policy actors, including those between the President and key international donors, politicians and technocrats, and state and civil society. Uganda clearly emerges here as a "governance" state (Harrison, 2004) within which global players and non-state actors play roles in nominally domestic policy processes, making it less useful to refer to the relative power of internal and external actors than to examine their cross-cutting relationships. Among the most notable of these relationships was the one established across what Kanbur (2001) has described as the "Finance Ministry" and "Civil Society" policy tendencies. 4 This was signified most clearly by the ways in which the "voices of the poor" were brought directly within MFPED through Uganda's Participatory Poverty Assessment (UPPAP, Brock, McGee, & Ssewakiryanga, 2002), while civil society organizations were also heavily involved in PEAP consultations and the sector working groups established to lead on policy-making. It was these relationships that both embodied the PWC and enabled its rolling out on the ground, both in Uganda but also elsewhere. However, by the early 2000s the political and political economy conditions that underpinned these relationships had already started to shift, before the watershed of 2006 fundamentally altered the relational basis of development policy-making and put in place the drivers of the new agenda.

(b) A transition period: The PEAP runs out of steam

By the time the PEAP was undergoing its third iteration (2004-2007), there were already signs that it was running out of political steam and also of a drift away from a poverty focus within government (Hickey, 2005). Successive Presidential statements during the early 2000s revealed a growing level of dissatisfaction with the PEAP process and agenda, which was seen as dominated by donors, technocrats, and civil society consultations and divergent with the President's more

ambitious "modernization" agenda. 5 Such concerns were given further momentum by the release of official government data in 2005 that showed reduced rates of economic growth and poverty reduction. Although the disappointing growth figures were later found to be largely erroneous (due to a problem with the national accounts), the sense that a change of policy direction was required had become etched within the mindsets of leading technocrats and politicians alike (Interview data, May-June 2010). The results of the National Household Survey for 2005, which seemed to show that growth was the key driver of whatever poverty reduction had occurred, was also influential, increasing the sense that the focus on social sector expenditure within PEAP was somehow missing the point and strengthening the rationale for a more "productivist" focus on growth. High rates of economic growth for over a decade had also helped create pressure for improved energy and transport infrastructure to cope with increased levels of traffic and business activity (Interview with senior MFPED official, February 2011).

A growing disenchantment with the PEAP process and agenda was clearly identifiable by around 2004-5. Politicians steered clear ofthe process ofproducing the third PEAP, which was largely dominated by technocrats and resulted in a Plan that lacked the populist flavor of its predecessors (Canagarajah & van Diesen, 2006). Its lack of political appeal was further underlined when the President initially refused to sign it (Interview with MFPED official, September 2008). However, this disenchantment would not gain programmatic coherence until the third PEAP had run its course and would come up for review in 2006-7. By then the politics and political economy of development in Uganda would have shifted decisively in ways that would unravel the relationships underpinning the poverty agenda, largely through the return of multi-party politics, a declining reliance on aid, the discovery of large oil reserves, and the growing interest of rising powers, particularly China.

(c) From poverty to prosperity for all under multi-party politics

The return of multi-party politics to Uganda in 2005, coupled with the President securing the constitutional grounds for gaining re-election by overturning the two-term limit for sitting presidents,6 increased the incentives for the NRM regime to re-gain control over development policy as a means of mobilizing electoral support. Returning to their constituencies to campaign for the 2006 elections, politicians were regaled with tales of failed service delivery by their constituents (Interviews with government officials, February 2011). Tasked with mounting an electoral campaign as a political party rather than a "movement," the NRM deployed the language of "Prosperity for All" rather than mere poverty reduction, and thereafter sought to devise initiatives to realize this, including an emphasis on microfinance programs that was reminiscent of earlier attempts to promote microcredit around election times (Muhumuza, 2007). Although patchily implemented on the ground (Interviews with agricultural sector experts, May 2010), "Prosperity for All" signaled an important shift away from the poverty agenda, as reflected in a frequent refrain from government officials at this time such that "we've had enough of looking at poverty," with one saying "forget about the poor, we need growth first" (Interview with donor official, September 2008). The shift was not merely discursive but also materialistic: as reflected in successive Background to the Budget Papers from 2006 onwards, "Budget patterns have shifted toward priorities outlined in the NRM Manifesto rather than PEAP, which has struggled to remain relevant" (Interview, September 2008). 7

(d) The new international political economy of aid, debt, and development

Crucially, 2006 also witnessed significant changes within political economy of development in Uganda, most notably its graduation away from highly-indebted poor country (HIPC) status, the discovery of significant oil reserves, and a declining reliance on international aid. As indicated in Figure 1 below, Uganda has reversed its level of reliance on aid and is set to further increase the extent to which the budget is funded from domestic revenues.

This derives, to an extent, from the discovery of large oil reserves and the resulting inflow of investment. The identification of untapped oil reserves in the Albertine area in the early 2000s attracted the interest of China, Libya, and Iran, as well as oil companies from France, Britain, and Ireland.8 However, it was only in 2006 that estimates revealed that up to two billion barrels of oil were available for exploitation. 2006 was also the year of the Sino-Africa pact that saw the GoU sign six agreements around key areas of the economy, including trade, investment, water conservation, agriculture, infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, textiles, human resource development, and agro-processing. Although direct revenues from oil are not expected to start flowing in Uganda until late in this decade, the presence of oil has attracted an estimated $3 billion in exploration investments since 2006 (The East African, 25 February 2012). In October 2010, Tul-low Oil (one of the two main companies involved in exploiting Uganda's reserves) was given the go-ahead to sell rights to the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and also the French company TOTAL in a farm-down deal worth $1.45bn (Wall Street Journal, 19/10/2010), that was finally signed in February 2012 (East African, 25/02/2012).

This marks a steep upward trajectory regarding China's involvement in Uganda, which although ongoing since 1962 only became significant in the 2000s. By 2010 China had become the lead investor in Uganda with a hand in most key sectors, although according to a recent report from the Uganda Investment Authority (New Vision, 20/10/2010) it is only approaching dominance in some of these (manufacturing and increasingly construction, roads, and oil). 9 Government bureaucrats remain wary of accepting too much finance from China, particularly regarding the risk of increased indebtedness and taking on supply- rather than demand-led projects (Interviews June 2010, February 2011, June 2011),

Nonetheless, China's involvement in several mega-projects, from the Namboole Stadium to the new $25 million office block for the President and Prime Minister, has given it a high profile. In terms of development assistance, it is difficult to track China's aid contributions, not least because it is not a member of OECD-DAC and does not attend joint donor meetings. However, China appears to be following the approach it has employed elsewhere in Africa (Brautigam, 2009; Power & Mohan, 2010), whereby aid is given mainly for infrastructural development and business, with relatively few conditions attached beyond a preference for the use of labor and materials imported from China (EPRC, 2007, 21). This converges closely with the President's renewed interest in structural transformation for Uganda, and it is clear that the new influx of funding related to oil and China has had a direct influence on budgetary and policy shifts in Uganda over the past few years. According to one senior source within MFPED,

".. .China has more resources along with our own monies from oil—this combination is bringing this type of shift... Our own revenues have been increasing, so we are reducing our dependency on traditional donors, who are also reducing their expenditure. Which came first, the new policy ideas (around transformation) or the new sources of funding? The funding probably, although the shift to productivity in last PEAP was based on money from traditional donors and ourselves, but once those sources of revenue became available from China and oil it gave real energy to the process (Interview, February 2011).

As such, the new political economy of development that emerged during the mid-2000s can be linked directly to changes in the nature and substance of policy debates and budgetary allocations in Uganda from this time onwards. As discussed in more detail below, the NDP's move away from poverty and to structural transformation can be seen as the most notable exemplar of this broader shift.


Having established that 2006 marked a critical turning point for the politics of development in Uganda, this section details the process through which what came to be known as the NDP was conceived and launched, with a particular focus on the emergence of new sets of relationships between key players within Uganda's development policy process.

(a) From PEAP review to the NDP

As the third PEAP drew to a close in 2007, a PEAP Revision Task Force was established within MFPED. Reflecting the disquiet noted above, the government also commissioned a UK consultancy firm to undertake an evaluation of the whole PEAP experiment. 10 The Task Force brought together the three key stakeholders in the process, namely MFPED, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the NPA. The President was determined to use a longer planning cycle than the three-year PEAP to help deal with the challenge of securing transformation. This move was confirmed during a parliamentary debate in 2007, after which Cabinet announced a return to national development planning, to be produced for 5, 10, and 30 year time periods. Produced in September 2007, the first "national Development Plan" concept note referred to "prosperity" rather than "poverty" in its title, but setting out a largely familiar process for the review. Sector working groups, each with the usual inclusion of donors and civil society organizations, would produce strategic papers that would form draft chapters for the Plan. However, this consultative mode was rejected by MFPED's Permanent Secretary, who directed the Task Force to instead identify the key drivers of growth using a form of macroeconomic modelling similar to that employed by the World Bank. This would offer a very different analytical basis compared to the poverty diagnostics performed for the PEAP, especially as there were no plans to re-commission either UPPAP or the Poverty Status Reports. 11 When the process was officially launched in November 2007, only a small group of civil society organizations and donors were belatedly invited, underlining the sense that the key players from the 'civil society tendency' would be less involved this time around (Interview with donor official, September 2008).

However, this exclusion of donors from the initial stages of formulating the NDP (also noted by Kjaer and Muhumuza (2009)), tends to obscure the strong sense in which the IFIs in particular remained influential. The World Bank's Country Memorandum paper for Uganda was released in September 2007, and focused on identifying and overcoming the "binding constraints" to growth and structural transformation, including through a focus on infrastructure and industrialization, while an IMF study released around the same time stressed similar concerns (Selassie, 2008). This analytical work to codify the new post-PWC ideological dispensation around structural transformation into policy-relevant terms was highly influential in Uganda, where it converged with the renewed political discourse around "transformation." Interviews with key policy actors reveal how ingrained the Bank Memo's language of "binding constraints" has become within Uganda's policy discourse on development, an influence that also extended into the realm of budgetary allocations. According to a senior source in MFPED's Treasury department, "the work done by the World Bank, that Country Memo.. .that influenced us to shift resources...," as evidenced in particular by the dramatic funding increases for roads in the subsequent budget for 2008-09 (Figure 3). The IFIs, operating in "knowledge broker" mode, would also closely shape the NDP.

(b) The NPA takes over

Progress on the NDP was delayed through much of 2008, in part because of a longstanding struggle between MFPED and NPA. Although the 1995 Constitution accorded NPA formal responsibility over national planning, ".. .MFPED delayed its establishment for as long as it could," until in 2002, "Parliament ensured it (the NPA) became an institutional reality"

(Whitworth & Williamson, 2010, 24). NPA would remain under the jurisdiction of MFPED, and with any return to the earlier separation of planning and budgeting functions ruled out (Whitworth & Williamson, 2010), with MFPED eventually agreeing that NPA should take up leadership of the NDP process. In order to help support the under-capacity NPA in this, MFPED's Economic Policy and Research Department provided technical backstopping services to NPA and its erstwhile Commissioner was appointed as the new Executive Director of NPA in February 2009. This institutional shift was important, and would provide a new space within which a more ambitious and politically-attuned approach to development policy would take shape. 12

In late 2008 NPA established a Core Technical Committee to co-ordinate and drive the NDP process. This consisted of representatives from NPA, MFPED, and OPM, along with one representative each from the key private sector and civil society umbrella associations, and other co-opted members. The process was markedly less inclusive than with the PEAP, with the focus switching instead to learning lessons from successful post-war developers, including Malaysia, Korea, and China, through literature reviews and talks from visiting experts. Task Forces were established for key sectors and charged with producing thematic papers. These were composed primarily of government officials and were supposed to mark a break with the more donor-driven and consultative Sector Working Groups. The first phase of consultation was with local governments, 13 after which three workshops were held with parliamentarians and political parties were also called for a meeting to discuss the NDP in November 2009. Although some civil society representatives were included in the Task Forces, NGOs bemoaned the lack of communication from NPA as to whether or not their inputs were being used (Interviews with NGO leaders 2008, 2011). Frustrated, a small group of NGO leaders produced their own report entitled Unlocking Uganda's Development Potential in July 2009. However, the report was poorly distributed, and those involved saw little evidence of any influence on the NDP, unlike with previous PEAPs (Interviews with NGO leaders 2008, 2010, 2011). By contrast, private sector representatives report that the priorities emerging during the NDP process, particularly around infrastructure, directly captured their submissions and also the priorities outlined in the Private Sector Foundation's own strategic report (Interviews, June 2010).

Donors remained at arms length, with NPA framing the NDP process as a national duty, as reflected in the role played by an informal gathering organized by the NPA Chairman known as the "Patriotic Club." The Patriotic Club, which often met at the NPA headquarters after office hours, involved erstwhile ministers, researchers, and civil servants debating and working long hours to help get the draft Plan into shape. Although NPA requested that donors fund two international consultants to help with the final drafting of the report, the majority of the writing was done by Ugandan sector experts along with two other Ugandan nationals, including an academic then based at the Economic Policy and Research Centre.

(c) Toward the NDP launch

In October 2009, OPM helped facilitate a Cabinet retreat where a preliminary version of the NDP was presented. A first full draft was then produced in December 2009 for a second Cabinet retreat before broader consultations were held with parliament, the private sector, civil society, and donors. Presidential involvement appeared to increase markedly at this stage, with one insider claiming that "He was really driving

the process" (Interviews May-June 2010), perhaps because the 2011 elections now coming clearly into view. The President held at least three meetings with NPA officials along with several other bilateral meetings and telephone calls with the NPA Chairman, and is said to have provided many hand-written comments on the draft.

However, the ambitious public investments outlined in the first fully-costed Plan raised alarm bells within the Bank of Uganda (BoU), parts of the Ministry of Finance and also the IMF. If fully funded, the draft NDP would leave government with a budget deficit of around 14%, an anathema to Uganda's Finance Ministry tendency, which was proud of having hardwired macroeconomic stability and fiscal prudence into government since 1992 (Tumusiime-Mutebile, 2010, pp. 42). In negotiations, the NPA used the language of a Marshall Plan-style "big push" to advance the case for investment in strategic areas. However, with Uganda recently graduated from HIPC status there was little appetite for increased borrowing as a means of covering this deficit, and the Governor of BoU remained steadfast. Following tough negotiations, it was agreed that the NDP could be funded to a level that would involve a budget deficit of between 6% and 7%, to be achieved in part by rolling over some programs into the next cycle. Despite this deal, the struggle between those prioritizing large investments on the one hand and macroeconomic stability on the other would rumble on.

The final stages of producing the NDP reflected continued tensions around who owns development policy-making in Uganda. By a mixture of accident and design, the timing of the NDP launch was more closely linked to the imperatives of external actors than key national policy processes. By the time the NDP was finally ready in April 2010, having gained Cabinet approval in February, there was little opportunity for the NDP to have a serious influence on the budgetary allocations for that year. However, the launch process did dovetail neatly with the timetables of the IFIs, most notably the Bank's new Country Assistance Strategy, issued in May 2010, and the IMF's latest review of Uganda's Policy Support Instrument (PSI). 14 Given that a successful PSI review sends a favorable signal to international investors and donors regarding a country's investment climate, the government was keen to get this in place and saw IFI-approval of the NDP as helping this process. Uganda then submitted its draft NDP for a Joint Staffs Assessment in February, before showing it to Parliament. 15 Once the government had received IFI-approval for the NDP at the end of March (IMF/WB, 2010), and with future borrowing needs likely secured through the new PSI agreement (also approved in-country in March and later confirmed at an IMF Board meeting on May 12), the launch date for the NDP was set for Monday April 19, 2010.

The launch itself was further characterized by the new politics of making development policy described above. According to one senior NPA official, the Constitutional requirement to present the Plan to parliament "had escaped us, kind of" (Interview, May 2010). The Plan was eventually submitted to the Parliamentary Finance Committee on Tuesday April 13, less than a week before the planned launch, with instructions to have feedback for the House on Thursday April 15. This was despite the fact that the House would be in recess on Wednesday April 14, as the main opposition party had already arranged a delegates' conference for that day. Parliament rejected the NDP, 16 Although Parliament rejected the NDP, the launch went ahead as planned. In his speech at the NDP launch, the President strongly welcomed what he claimed as a "homegrown" Plan with one national newspaper reporting that "Museveni cautioned donors against directing

government on how to develop the country, saying 'We invited development partners to feed into the plan so that they don't (direct)'."17 Presiding over the launch, the Minister of Planning concurred, repeating the mantra that, "Mr. President, this is your vision" (Interview, June 2010). The next section analyzes the content of the NDP approach to development in relation to the foregoing poverty agenda and also examines its influence on successive budgetary allocations, before returning to this issue of ownership in Section 5.


"A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Society: Growth, Employment and Socio-Economic Transformation for Prosperity" (Uganda's National Development Plan, Government of Uganda 2010).

"This is a paradigm shift, absolutely.. .PEAP was about poverty this one brings in economic growth, employment, skills development, productivity, value addition..." (NPA Executive Director, Interview June 2010).(a) The NDP's development agenda

The Vision and Theme of Uganda's NDP cited above dismisses talk of "poverty reduction" as too limited a goal for the country, particularly given the promise of oil wealth on the horizon. Indeed, the Plan can be read as a means of upgrading the country's infrastructure to ensure that the oil reserves are fully exploited when they come on stream later this decade. In an emblematic move, the much-quoted PEAP goal of reducing the proportion of Uganda's population living in poverty to 10% by 2017 is replaced by the aim of ensuring middle-income status by the same date (Republic of Uganda, 2010).

The NDP proposes an alternative conceptualization of how development should unfold in Uganda as compared to the PEAP. As indicated in Figure 2, the focus is on how to support the productive sectors of the economy, conceived here as the "yolk" of Uganda's development egg. This includes but goes beyond agriculture to identify the relatively new areas of mining, oil and gas, and also higher-value activities such as manufacturing and information and communication technologies. Whereas the previous PEAP was organized around pillars, which implied a semblance of equality between, for example, growth and improved quality of life, the hierarchical ordering of priorities is now much clearer. Here the social sectors, including the PAF areas of water, sanitation, health, and education, are downgraded to the third layer in favor of sectors associated with production and employment, with the NDP including a long list of mega-projects, particularly in the roads and energy sectors. There are also efforts to "upgrade" the policy focus within most sectors, as with the shift within the education sector from a focus on primary to a stronger focus on tertiary education, and away from small-scale production to agro-processing in agriculture. Other potential drivers of growth, such as small and medium-sized enterprises are also emphasized (Ishengoma & Kappel, 2011).

Despite the oft-expressed concern that national development policies need to be linked more closely to the process of determining budgetary allocations (OPM, 2008), the NDP arrived too late to formally influence the 2010-11 budget. Nonetheless, a number of NDP priorities were featured and the President referred directly to the NDP toward the end of his budget speech in June 2010. A concerted effort was then made by NPA and MFPED to ensure that the Plan was tightly integrated within the 2011-12 budget. Ministries and local

Figure 2. The NDP concept of development. ¡Source: Republic of Uganda (2010).

à Share -% growth

Figure 3. 2011-12 budget allocations per sector. ¡Source: Background to the budget, 2011-12.

government received clear written guidance from MFPED about aligning their budget framework papers with NDP priorities. NPA also attended the MFPED-led workshops with local governments to guide them on priorities, later verifying that the local government budget framework papers were aligned with NDP priorities.

The 2011-12 budget speech delivered to Parliament in June 9, 2011 did generally reflect NDP priorities. The declining fortunes of PAF allocations since 2008-9 was further underlined in favor of a strong emphasis on investments in infrastructure, with energy and roads together receiving over a quarter of the overall settlement and the Energy & Mineral

Development sector receiving a 160% increased in its allocation (see Figure 3). However, there were also some apparent inconsistencies regarding NDP priorities, as with the failure to increase investments in agriculture, which the NDP emphasizes as critical for modernisation.

(b) How pro-poor is the NDP?

It is too soon to offer a definitive judgement on whether the NDP is likely to be more or less pro-poor than its predecessors, including over what timeframe. Although budgetary allocations have shifted, NDP priorities have yet to be imple-

Figure 4. Budget priorities shift away from PAF areas. Source: 1997-98-2005-06 (PEAP evaluation: Poverty Status Report 2005); 2006-10 (Budget Performance Report); 2010-11: National Budget Framework Paper 10111-14115; 2011-12: National Budget Framework Paper 11/12-15/15. NB: figures for

2008-9 exclude donor funding. Figures on left-hand axis are in Ugandan Schillings (bn).

mented on the ground and, by their nature, it will be several years before many of these (e.g., major hydroelectricity projects, roads, bridges) will be developed let alone have an impact on living standards. Nonetheless, it is possible to assess the strategic direction proposed by the NDP in relation to the character of poverty in Uganda and what is known about pro-poor growth and development in this context and more broadly.

According to the NPA, "the difference between the PEAPs and the NDP is the balance between poverty reduction and development" (Interview with NPA Chairman, June 2010). One of the indicators of this relative shift is the declining importance given to PAF expenditures. Figure 4 reveals that PAF's share of the total budget has plummeted from a high of nearly 35% in 2007-8 to its current projected level of 9.7%. This fall can be accounted for to some extent by the removal of some items that used to be considered under PAF from 2009 to 2010 onwards (MFPED, 2008). Nonetheless, in a context of increased fiscal space, the Government has clearly decided not to deepen its commitment to PAF areas but to shift the emphasis elsewhere. Levels of expenditure in health and education will remain significant, but mainly in relation to earlier commitments and recurrent expenditure, that is, through a residual rather than a renewed focus on these sectors.

This is not necessarily "anti-poor," and it has become increasingly clear that agriculture and infrastructure, both of which are critical to securing of "pro-growth" (e.g., Besley & Cord, 2007), have been subject to low levels of investment in Uganda and across Africa for over two decades. There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that structural transformation of the economy, involving a broad shift from agricultural to manufacturing, labor-intensive forms of production and progressive moves up the value chain in terms of the goods being produced for export markets offers a sustainable route to large-scale poverty over the long-run (Khan, 2005).18 In a powerful critique not only of the Washington Consensus but also its PWC successor, Gore (2000) identified a "Southern Consensus" that better reflected the postwar development successes experienced in East Asia and Latin America. The key tenets of this Southern Consensus diverge sharply from either the Washington or PWC:

1. Strategic integration into global economy.

2. Growth and structural change by "productive development policy" (fiscal discipline; full capital and human employment; human capital formation).

3. A developmental state linking government and business co-operation (state facilitation of private sector-led development; state role in overcoming technology imperfections).

4. The managing of distribution and growth to ensure productive employment e.g., agrarian reform.

5. Regional integration and co-operation (Gore, 2000).

The NDP agenda bears a striking resemblance to this Southern Consensus, particularly the clear shift to a focus on employment, state facilitation of private sector-led development, and also on regional integration through a strong recognition of the importance of the East African Community (Republic of Uganda, 2010). Although fiscal discipline has been tested of late, particularly during the election year of 2011, the underlying commitment seems to strong macro-economic governance remain in place.

However, there are important gaps elsewhere, perhaps most strikingly in a lack of attention to human capital formation; the limited role envisaged for the state in terms of closing the technology gap; and the absence of a clear strategy around how the state will seek to manage growth and (re)distribution. Indeed, it is very difficult to identify clear examples of how the overall vision of transformation has been thought through in distributive terms, whether over the short- or long-term, and with particular reference to the critical areas of agriculture, employment, social protection, and spatial inequality.

(i) Agriculture

As the NDP recognizes, a majority of poor Ugandans still rely heavily on the agricultural sector to generate income. However, whereas the pro-poor growth that Uganda experienced during the 1990s was based largely around the increased gains experienced by small-holders (predominantly in the coffee sector, Kappel, Lay, & Steiner, 2005), the NDP focuses mainly on farmers with larger land holdings. The intention is to re-order the political economy of agriculture on a wider

scale, including a focus on agricultural zoning to gain economies of scale around specific commodities, which can then support agricultural trade and agro-processing in a more sustainable manner. Efforts will be made to select and intervene in strategic commodities, as determined according to available export markets in the country and region more broadly. 19

This marks a return to earlier policy debates around the development of strategic agricultural commodities (Kappel et al., 2005); however, and as then, agriculture remains subject to under-investment and continues to lack a clear policy direction. In addition to capping expenditure for the sector at less than 5% in the 2011-12 budget, the same budget announced a tax-reduction on hoes, which hardly reflects a drive to modernize the sector. Civil society critics consider it "a tragedy that a sector that employs over 70% of Ugandans gets only approximately 5% budget allocation" (UNGF, 2009, pp. 15), particularly when regional bodies such as the EAC and AU advocate budgetary allocations of around 15% of the national budget for agriculture (cf. APRM, 2009, pp. 142). There is clearly a lack of government confidence in the sector, which has experienced an apparent freefall in terms of its contribution to GDP over the past 20 years. The Plan also has little to contribute on land reform, despite its critical importance to poverty reduction in Uganda (Krishna et al., 2006).

(ii) Employment

As such, the exit routes from agriculture into agro-processing in Uganda (let alone the urban-based manufacturing sector), remain limited. A leading expert in the agricultural sector notes that, "The employment links are not very explicit as an objective in the agricultural strategy for the NDP (Interview, June 2010), while a contributor to the NDP's diagnostic basis admits that "the projects that will create employment are not thought through in the Plan" (Interview, February 2011). This is strongly reflected in the 2011-12 budget, which seeks to support employment-creation through stand-alone schemes and projects rather than at the strategic level of promoting labor-intensive forms of growth in particular sectors.

This has serious implications for the whole NDP agenda in Uganda. According to one official within MFPED,

"a major factor driving the modernization agenda in Uganda (is) the pressure from growing youth unemployment. This perhaps more than anything else explains the pressure on government to focus on job creation through creating new sources of economic growth. Hence the thrust of investment in energy, roads, ICT, agriculture, etc." (Personal communication, February 2011).

However, Uganda has yet to plot a coherent way forward here. Most investment in recent years has been in sectors that are capital- rather than labor-intensive (e.g., telecommunications, banking) with much slower job-creation in large-scale agriculture or manufacturing (World Bank, 2007), a trend that looks set to continue with the current move into oil production.

(iii) Social protection

Where capital-intensive strategies become the preferred mode of development, this arguably places a higher burden on the state to redistribute wealth through the fiscal system and seek to maintain social stability amidst high-levels of unemployment in this way. However, there is very little indication that the government in Uganda is planning significant investment in social protection. Although the NDP does contain four pages on social protection and two (related) cash-transfer programs are currently being rolled out, these remain heavily reliant on donor funding and expertise, and levels of government funding and ownership (outside the committed but structurally weak Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social

Development) remains minimal. Indeed, the Social Development sector's projected share of the budget is set to decline rather than increase over the period of the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) (MFPED, 2011, 60). It is therefore unclear as to what provision will be available for those unable to gain a foothold in whatever employment opportunities do emerge through the new policy direction mapped out by the NDP.

(iv) Spatial inequality

The apparent failure within the NDP to make the links between its overall strategy and the most pressing problems of impoverishment in Uganda is further evidenced in its approach to spatial inequality. Despite the post-conflict dividend currently benefiting Northern Uganda, poverty in the country remains heavily regionalized, with the North and East experiencing the severest and most long-run problems with poverty (CPRC-Uganda, 2005; Nandy, 2008; World Bank, 2007). The routes to escaping poverty also differ markedly between regions, suggesting a strong case for a regionally differentiated policy approach (Krishna et al., 2006). The NDP does propose some "affirmative action" for these regions, including a restated commitment to the Post-Conflict Recovery and Development Programme for the north. However, much of the Plan tends to blame the poor of these regions for their poverty, with attention drawn to the cultural rather than political economy aspects of under-development in these regions (e.g., Republic of Uganda, 2010). This ideological bias toward a residualist reading of poverty has led to inappropriate policy solutions for the north in the past (Golooba-Mutebi & Hickey, 2010), a problem that looks set to be repeated here, with the main focus falling on localized economic activities for the north (Republic of Uganda, 2010, pp. 360-369), rather than any serious attempt to rebalance the political economy of the country and work out an integrated development strategy that joins the north up with infrastructure and markets at national and regional levels.

(c) A paradigm shift?

The NDP certainly marks a distinctive turn away from a poverty agenda, at least in its PRSP-guise and associated emphasis on social sector investments. However, does it mark a new paradigmatic direction for development in Uganda or simply a return to the growth-based focus of neoliberalism (Sheppard & Leitner, 2010)? Despite some initial rhetoric from MFPED officials about this being a "growth, growth, growth" agenda (Interviews, 2008), what is being advanced here is a distinctly productivist agenda that has more in common with Gore's (2000) "Southern Consensus" than the free market growth paradigm of the 1980s. The insistence on market liberalization within the Washington Consensus not only ignored the importance of investing in infrastructure, but also tended to encourage rentier forms of capitalism that further undermined the productive base of the economy. 20 However, although the NDP is certainly seeking to move Uganda toward a more productivist political economy of development, its failure to articulate a coherent strategic way forward in terms of growth, employment, and redistribution is a serious flaw and reduces its claims to offer a distinctive paradigmatic approach. It is also highly doubtful that Uganda possesses the type of developmental state required to implement this proposed new agenda anytime soon (see below). Moreover, the question of whether the NDP represents a move toward a Southern Consensus is further confused by the fact that the Washington-based brokers of development knowledge appear to have also shifted in the same ideological direction.


(a) Between ownership and sovereignty

This section returns the question of who "owns" the new development agenda in Uganda—or in Whitfield's (2009) useful reformulation, whether Uganda has moved beyond "ownership via donor influence" to a position of exerting "sovereign control" over its development policy—and the related issue of whether the NDP is likely to be implemented.

Although donors were far less involved in the actual process of producing the NDP as compared to the PEAP, the IFIs in particular had already exerted a significant amount of influence, most notably through the World Bank's (2007) Country Memorandum. As a senior IFI source in Uganda attests, "the main aim (of Country Memos) will be to influence the policy formulation of government" (Interview, February 2011), an aim that was clearly achieved given that the Memo's primary recommendation, namely "the need for Ugandan policy makers to pro-actively steer structural transformation and job creation through public policies and targeted investments" (World Bank, 2007, 3) was adopted wholesale in the NDP. Although the Bank set out to be consultative in this process, and government officials report feeding in their ideas at the start, Bank officials admit that there was a tendency to push government along this "consultative" process in order to meet tight internal timetables. A leading parliamentarian, and then Chair of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank, noted that "The paper of the World Bank was driven much more fastly than the NDP process, and so it informed the NDP very much; the NPA is still young and a weak fish.. .the Country Memo was very influential" (Interview, February 2011).

However, the same politician also sees the "NDP as something much more government owned than the previous PEAP." (Interview, February 2011), and senior insiders state that, while there was an effort to harmonize the NDP process with the timetables of the IFIs, this was a strategic decision, "not to be influenced but to learn best-practice and get the global picture from them.. .also to get them confident, keep them on board" (Interview, February 2011). Likewise, the World Bank officials producing the Memo admit that they bore in mind the President's preference for a discourse of transformation. The experience of the NDP process suggests that Uganda is currently located somewhere in between the different models of "sovereign control" and "ownership via donor influence" (Whitfield, 2009). The contradictions within such a state of affairs are captured in the words of a senior IFI official based in Kampala:

"the IMF really gets the ownership thing in ways we didn't 10 years ago. Countries.. .are not dependent on our money but are on our advice and approval" (Interview, June 2010).

This in turn suggests the need for a different conception of sovereignty, as argued for by Harrison (2004), which concentrates less on a strong distinction between internal and external actors and instead views sovereignty as a "frontier" which ".. .is formed by the interaction of forces therein, rather than by the delimitation between one space and another" (Harrison, 2004, pp. 25-26).21

As the politics of development in Uganda has shifted, so have the types of relationships that are required to sustain particular policy agendas. It is feasible that Presidential talk of modernization constitutes the most recent attempt by Museveni to triangulate his concerns with the interests of those he needs to stay in power and pursue his current project. 22 For much of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it clearly

suited Museveni to play the poverty card given his heavy reliance on support from particular donors who were leading this new agenda, and also because of the electoral popularity it helped to secure for him via populist give-aways. That his rhetoric of "modernization" has come so strongly to the fore over the past few years similarly fits well with the agenda of those providing new sources of financial support and investment, most notably China but also other countries and companies looking to invest in the exploitation of oil and the infrastruc-tural development associated with this. The fact that the World Bank is using much the same rhetoric of "transformation" suggests that the IFIs are as much running to catch-up with as leading the new zeitgeist (cf. Sheppard & Leitner, 2010), often in response to some of the same underlying drivers. 23 Given that the President has a long-held vision of Uganda as a modern country that pre-dates these drivers, including the discovery of significant oil finds, it seems possible that the new agenda of transformation may command deeper levels of "ownership" than would have occurred even if the decade of efforts to "nationalize the poverty agenda" (Toye, 1999) had been further prolonged.

(b) Will the NDP be implemented?

The extent to which the NDP will be implemented successfully remains an open question. Although space precludes a fuller investigation of this issue here (see Hickey, 2011), it seems likely that this will be shaped to a large extent by three inter-related factors, including the state of the economy and resource mobilization, the level of state capacity, and the strength and nature of the relationships that the government is able to forge in support of this new agenda. Although the NDP has clearly had an influence over the most recent budgetary allocations, the fiscal space during its first two years of existence has been constrained and implementation limited, not least as a result of financial mismanagement around the 2011 elections. At a deeper level, there is little evidence that the economy is structurally ready for "take off" (Selassie, 2008), something that would actually require a reversal of recent trends. The economy is facing a difficult time, characterized by high inflation, a growing balance of payments deficit, depleted foreign reserves and a flat lining tax take. With some donors increasingly willing to withdraw general budgetary support when they perceive government to be under- or misperforming, the Government is increasingly considering taking loans from new sources in order fund the major investments prioritized by the NDP. However, this will only ease the tensions between increased investment and macroeconomic stability if a return to high-levels of indebtedness is avoided. Proceeds from oil may well help bridge the financing gaps between the current budget and the ambitions laid out in the NDP, but there are clear concerns that this will deepen the rent-seeking as opposed to productive features of Uganda's political economy, and also tend to involve capital- rather than labor-intensive forms of growth.

However, the most significant binding constraint that Uganda faces in seeking to deliver on its new development agenda is its lack of a developmental state. Structural transformation is no mean feat, and modern history suggests that it requires not only high-levels of political commitment and resources but also a high degree of state capacity (Gore, 2000; World Bank, 2008). Uganda clearly lacks the type of developmental state that is required to deliver either the forms of capitalist accumulation or service delivery demanded here, and appears to be exhibiting a deepening of the neopatrimonial tendencies which tend to undermine prospects for development (Kjaer

& Katusiimeh, 2012; Tripp, 2010). Within the more immediate politics of policy processes, the iron triangle of actors who underpinned the PRSP-experiment, namely "traditional" donors, the Ministry of Finance and CSOs, have increasingly given way to non-traditional donors, the NPA and private sector organizations in terms of influence over the development policy agenda. However, this new set of actors each lack the same level of capacity and influence over policy-making that the former actors held, and remain poorly co-ordinated, both within and between themselves. In particular, and as explored in greater depth elsewhere (Hickey, in press), while the Civil Society tendency has been displaced, the "new productiv-ists" that have recently emerged within the Finance Ministry tendency to represent an alternative approach to that of the neoliberals, currently lack the capacity and influence to win the argument for much higher-levels of investment vis-a-vis the residual emphasis on keeping expenditure constrained within MTEF ceilings in the cause of macroeconomic stability. As such, the new paradigm of structural transformation currently lacks the agency on the ground required to move ahead.


The politics of development, in Uganda and beyond, has shifted significantly in recent years, in ways that appear to have important implications for the future of the poverty agenda leading up to the Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015. The analysis offered here suggests that the poverty agenda in Uganda was enabled and sustained by a particular set of political and political economy conditions, revolving most critically around shifting patterns of geopolitics, the global flows of resources and ideas, and domestic political power arrangements (both formal and informal). These conditions were largely displaced during the mid-2000s by a new set of drivers more conducive to a project of growth and structural transformation. The discovery of potentially significant levels of oil wealth, the growing influence of new donors and the return of multi-party politics all served to embolden the

President's long-held ambition of emulating the East Asian miracles. This converged with the ideological shifts taking place within the development mainstream which, in recognition of shifting patterns of wealth and global power and also the financial crisis of 2008, tended to undermine the social-orientation of the previous PWC in favor of an increased focus on productivity. This shift was further enabled in Uganda by the move toward a longer-term planning cycle and the increased space opened up for a new "Planning Tendency" to emerge within (and increasingly beyond) the Finance Ministry tendency. Uganda now has greater space to define its own development future, although its ideas on how to do so remain closely influenced by IFIs whose ideological agenda has been (not co-incidentally) traveling in the same direction.

The new agenda is arguably grounded in a stronger evidence base than the previous one in terms what has historically worked for poor countries (Gore, 2000), and also offers a welcome antidote to the apparent betrayal of even the prospect of modernity for poor countries within the minimalism of the poverty agenda (Hickey, 2005). However, there is little evidence at this stage that the NDP's proposed route toward transformation is coherent in terms of its redistributive outcomes, or that it will be implemented. 24 Although the types of relationships between certain policy actors that underpinned the PEAP have been cast aside, they have yet to be full replaced by relationships between new actors that can give the structural transformation agenda the arms and legs it needs to move on the ground. The absence of a developmental state to a large extent reflects the lack of productive as opposed to cli-entelistic relationships both within Uganda's political elite, and between political and economic elites. Finally, it is also clear that projects of developmental nationalism such as the one envisaged here have become even more problematic in a globalized age, not least following the neoliberal stripping down of the state. As such, it may be some time before the laudable ambitions of the NDP gain traction beyond the inner circles of policy-making in Uganda.

1. The Bank may also have been driven here by its own diagnostic work within the Commission on Growth and Development, which revealed that none of the successful growth stories of recent times had adhered to the narrative proclaimed within neoliberalism (World Bank, 2008).

2. Although it used to suit government and donors alike to portray the PEAP as a domestically-driven venture, this has long been questioned and senior government officials now openly admit that the process was largely donor-driven in the initial stages, with the government only taking control toward establishment of the third PEAP around 2003-4 (Interviews in Kampala, February 2011).

3. See Kjaer and Muhumuza (2009) for an analysis of how the state has approached agricultural development under the new politics of development.

4. Following Kanbur (2001), the "Finance Ministry tendency" in Uganda during this period included most of the MFPED, the international financial institutions, the Bank of Uganda and private sector pressure groups, while the "Civil Society tendency" consisted of analysts and advocates in NGOs, officials in social sector ministries, and some departments within MFPED, and some who worked in UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral donors (Hickey, 2005, p. 1002). The former

tended to approach development from a growth-first, neoliberal perspective whereas the latter tended to emphasize human and social aspects of development. The changing nature of these tendencies in the light of an altered political context will be returned to below.

5. Mosley (2012) notes that the President was initially skeptical of the poverty agenda, refusing to attach even the most limited "social dimensions of adjustment" programs in the early 1990s.

6. See Makara, Rakner, & Svasand (2009) for an insightful discussion of this process and the reasons behind it. The fuller impacts of multi-party politics on development policy in Uganda are the subject of a separate paper that is currently under development.

7. This chimes with the views of one influential insider who notes that, ".. .the impact of budget allocations diminished with each iteration of the PEAP. As a result, less attention has been paid to the instrument by government institutions" (Mugambe, 2010, p. 170).

8. For example, in 2001 China ".. .agreed to commence drilling for oil on Lake Albert in western Uganda and extended grants and free loans, including for the building of a $40 million food research facility" (Lee, 2007, pp. 29-30).

9. In 2006-7, Britain established 20 projects in the country with a total planned investment of 267 million US dollars, creating 3,958 jobs. China invested 213 million dollars on 40 projects with planned employment of 6,117 (EPRC, 2007).

10. Although this publication of this report was delayed until mid-2008, with the PEAP revision process starting before this in late 2007, this OPM (2008) sponsored evaluation was influential in helping to securing a shift away from the PEAP approach in favor of a more government-owned and productivist policy approach.

11. The Poverty Monitoring and Analysis Unit, within which UPPAP had sat, had its main source of funding removed by DFID, and was reformed by the government into a domestically-funded inspectorate named Budgetary Monitoring and Accountability Unit (Interviews, MFPED officials 2007, 2008).

12. This shift was further underlined in June 2008 when the results of the PEAP Evaluation were finally delivered. Amidst its wide-ranging findings and recommendations was a strong emphasis on government taking greater responsibility for ensuring the delivery of services and for technocrats to be sensitive to the needs of the politicians when drawing up their plan (OPM, 2008), lest they produce "a technically sound document that cannot be implemented" (Interview with government technocrat, September 2008, also Canagarajah & van Diesen, 2006). The presentation of the PEAP Evaluation to Cabinet in mid-2008 helped to reignite executive level interest in development planning.

13. The consultations with local governments in early 2009 involved NPA issuing a survey to each district along with visits by NPA officials. However, the time allowed for this data-gathering was minimal and it is not clear how these results were analyzed or fed into the Plan itself (from interviews with local government officials in two districts, Busia and Kamuli, undertaken by Badru Bukenya in March 2011).

14. According to the IMF, "The Policy Support Instrument (PSI) supports low-income countries that do not want—or need—Fund financial assistance but seek to consolidate their economic performance with IMF monitoring and support (IMF PSI Factsheet)."

15. Completed on March 31, 2010, the JSA was broadly positive, praising the overall focus on structural transformation within strict macroeconomic constraints, while raising concerns that weak governance and exogenous shocks may knock the plan off course (IMF/WB, 2010). It was formally approved in Washington in May 2010.

16. Interviews (May-June 2010); Daily Monitor report 22 April 2010. The Plan was later accepted by Parliament in November 2010.

17. "Museveni Outlines Five Year Master Plan," The New Vision, April 19, 2010.

18. As noted some years ago in relation to Uganda, "...the current poverty agenda may be distracting attention from other development strategies that might be required to attack long-term, structural forms of poverty" (Hickey, 2005, p. 1005, also Bryceson & Bank, 2001).

19. One of the lead players in establishing the new agricultural strategy pronounced himself "Very happy with the shift to modernization," suggesting that "we should never have gone with the poverty thing, the emotional thing. We know those uncles and sisters are back there (in rural areas) but we cannot let them drive the development agenda" (Interview, June 2010).

20. This tendency, which in turn undermined the possibility of effective and accountable governance, was most clearly seen in relation to the rampant cronyism that characterized many privatization programs in Uganda (Mwenda & Tangri, 2005) and beyond.

21. Lie (2011) offers an interesting discussion of Harrison's (2004) concept of sovereignty in the context of the World Bank's approach to conditionality negotiations with the Office of the Prime Minister up until the mid-2000s.

22. See Fisher (2010) on how Museveni carefully calibrates his national policy actions to suit the types of relations how wishes to build and maintain more globally, as in the case of sending UPDF troops to Somalia. The same point is also made in a recent article in The Monitor (Why Museveni has stayed in power for twenty five years', 29 January 2011), which pointed out that one of Museveni's first acts in power was to call a press conference so that he could explain his position and plans to Western diplomats.

23. As noted in the Country Memo, "The report also comes at a time of reflection about economic growth in academia and within the World Bank" (World Bank, 2007, p. 2).

24. One donor official was mainly disappointed that NPA had not seen through its project more fully: "That is the real disappointment—they had an opportunity to look up to and beyond the oil era—establish a vision— but it just came out as a typically linear, chapter by chapter thing. I'm not sure it has a lot to offer.. .it could have looked at climate change, growth, oil—a real launch pad for middle-income country status. But it's not there." (Interview, 2010).


APRM (2009). Uganda country report. African Peer Review Forum. Midrand, South Africa: NEPAD.

Bahiigwa, G., Rigby, D., & Woodhouse, P. (2005). Right Target, Wrong Mechanism? Agricultural Modernisation and Poverty Reduction in Uganda. World Development, 33(3), 481-496.

Birdsall, N., & Fukuyama, F. (Eds.). (2011). New ideas on development after the financial crisis. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Branch, A. (2005). Neither peace nor justice: Political violence and the peasantry in Northern Uganda. African Studies Quarterly, 8(2), 1986-1998.

Brautigam, D. (2009). The Dragon's gift: The real story of China in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brock, K., McGee, R., & Ssewakiryanga, R. (2002). Poverty knowledge and policy processes: A case study of Ugandan national poverty reduction policy. IDS Research Paper No. 53. Brighton: IDS.

Bryceson, D., & Bank, L. (2001). End of an era: Africa's development policy parallax. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 19(1), 5-23.

Canagarajah, S., & van Diesen, A. (2006). The PRS approach six years on: An examination of principles and practice in Uganda. Development Policy Review, 24(6), 647-667.

Carmody, P. (2009). Cruciform sovereignty, matrix governance and the scramble for Africa's oil: Insights from Chad and Sudan. Political Geography, 28, 353-361.

CPRC-Uganda (2005). Chronic poverty in Uganda: The policy challenges. Kampala: Chronic Poverty Research Centre-Uganda.

Dijkstra, A. G., & van Donge, J. K. (2001). What does the 'Show Case' show? Evidence of and lessons from adjustment in Uganda. World Development, 29(5), 841-863.

EPRC (2007). China-Africa economic relations: The Case of Uganda. Kampala: EPRC.

Ferguson, J. (2006). Global shadows: Africa in the neoliberal world order. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Fisher, J. (2010). Managing donor perceptions and securing agency: The UPDF in Somalia since 2007. Paper given at the Africa Studies Association-UK Conference, Oxford, September.

Foster, M., & Mijumbi, P. (2001). How, when and why does poverty get budget priority: Poverty reduction strategy and public expenditure in Uganda. ODI Working Paper 163. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Golooba-Mutebi, F., & Hickey, S. (2010). Governing chronic poverty under inclusive liberalism: The case of the Northern Ugandan Social Action Fund. Journal of Development Studies, 46(7), 1216-1239.

Gore, C. (2000). The rise and fall of the WC as a paradigm for developing countries. World Development, 28(5), 789-804.

Gould, J. (2005). The new conditionality: The politics of poverty reduction strategies. London: Zed Books.

Grugel, J., & Riggirozzi, P. (2012). Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and reclaiming the state after crisis. Development and Change, 43(1), 1-21.

Harrison, G. (2004). The World Bank and Africa: The construction of governance states. London: Routledge.

Hickey, S. (2003). The politics of staying poor in Uganda. CPRC Working Paper No. 37. Manchester: IDPM.

Hickey, S. (2005). The politics of staying poor: Exploring the political space for poverty reduction in Uganda. World Development, 33(6), 995-1009.

Hickey, S. (2011). Beyond the poverty agenda? Insights from the new politics of development in Uganda. CPRC Working Paper No. 221. Manchester: IDPM.

Hickey, S. (in press). Beyond 'Poverty Reduction through Good Government': The new political economy of development in Africa. New Political Economy.

Hulme, D. (2010). Global poverty: How global governance is failing the poor. London: Routledge.

IMF/WB (2010). Joint staffs assessment: Uganda's National Development Plan. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Ishengoma, E. K., & Kappel, R. (2011). Business environment and growth potential of micro and small manufacturing enterprises in Uganda. African Development Review, 23(3), 352-365.

Kanbur, R. (2001). Economic policy, distribution and poverty: The nature of disagreements. World Development, 29(6), 1083-1094.

Kappel, R. T., Lay, J., & Steiner, S. (2005). Uganda: No more pro-poor growth?. Development Policy Review, 23(1), 27-53.

Kjaer, A. M., & Muhumuza, F. (2009). The new poverty agenda in Uganda. DIIS Working Paper 2009: 14. Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies.

Khan, M. H. (2005). Review of DFID's governance target strategy paper. Mimeo.

Kjaer, A. M., & Katusiimeh, M. (2012). Growing but not transforming: Fragmented ruling coalitions and economic developments in Uganda. DIIS Working Paper. Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies.

Krishna, A., Lumonya, D., Markiewicz, D., Mugumya, F., Kafuko, A., & Wegoye, J. (2006). Escaping poverty and becoming poor in 36 villages of Central and Western Uganda. Journal of Development Studies, 42(2), 346-370.

Lee, M. C. (2007). Uganda and china: Unleashing the power of the dragon. In: M. Lee, H. Melber, S. Naidu, & I. Taylor (Eds.). China in africa: current african issues (Vol. 35, pp. 26-40). Uppsala, Sweden: Nordic Africa Institute.

Lie, J. H. S. (2011). Developmentality: An ethnography of the new aid architecture and the formation of the World Bank-Uganda Partnership. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bergen.

Lin, J. (2010). New structural economics. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Makara, S., Rakner, L., & Svasand, L. (2009). Turnaround: The NRM and the reintroduction of a multiparty system in Uganda. International Political Science Review, 30(2), 185-204.

MFPED (2011). Background to the budget 2011-12: Promoting economic growth, job creation and improving service delivery. Kampala: Republic of Uganda.

MFPED (2008). The Poverty Action Fund (PAF) reform. Kampala: Republic of Uganda.

Mosley, P. (2012). The politics of poverty reduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mugambe, K. (2010). The poverty eradication plan. In F. Kuteesa, E. TumusiimeMutebile, A. Whitworth, & T. Williamson (Eds.). Uganda's economic reforms: Insider accounts (pp. 157-171). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Muhumuza, W. (2007). Credit and reduction of poverty in Uganda: Structural adjustment reforms in context. Kampala: Fountain Publishers.

Mwenda, A., & Tangri, R. (2005). Corruption and cronyism in Uganda's privatisation in the 1990s. African Affairs, 100, 117-133.

Nandy, S. (2008). Misunderestimating chronic poverty? Exploring chronic poverty in developing countries using cross-sectional demographic and health. Global Social Policy, 8, 45-79.

NRM (1999). Movement fifteen point programme. Kampala: Directorate of Information and Public Relations.

Onis, Z., & Senses, F. (2005). Rethinking the emerging post-Washington Consensus. Development and Change, 36(2), 263-290.

OPM (2008). Independent evaluation of Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP). Kampala: Office of the Prime Minister.

Piron, L.-H., & Norton, A. (2004). Politics and the PRSP Approach: Uganda case study. ODI Working Paper 240. London: Overseas Development Institute.

Power, M., & Mohan, G. (2010). Towards a critical geopolitics of China's engagement with African development. Geopolitics, 15(3), 462-495.

Putzel, J. (2004). The politics of action on AIDS: A case study of Uganda. Public Administration and Development, 24(1), 19-30.

Republic of Uganda (2010). Uganda National Development Plan: Growth, employment and socio-economic transformation for prosperity. Kampala: National Planning Authority.

Ross, M. L. (2012). The oil curse: How petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Selassie, A. A. (2008). Beyond macroeconomic stability: The quest for industrialization in Uganda. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.

Sheppard, E., & Leitner, H. (2010). Quo vadis neoliberalism? The remaking of global capitalist governance after the Washington Consensus. Geoforum, 41, 185-194.

Toye, J. (1999). Nationalising the poverty agenda. IDS Bulletin, 30(2).

Tripp, A. M. (2010). Museveni's Uganda: Paradoxes of power in a hybrid regime. Boulder: Lynne Reinner.

Tumusiime-Mutebile, E. (2010). Institutional and political dimensions of economic reform. In F. Kuteesa, E. TumusiimeMutebile, A. Whit-worth, & T. Williamson (Eds.)., Uganda's economic reforms; insider accounts (pp. 35-51). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

UNGF (2009). Unlocking Uganda's development potential: 8 fundamentals for the success of the National Development Plan (NDP). Kampala: Uganda National NGO Forum.

Whitfield, L. (2009). The politics of aid in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Whitworth, A., & Williamson, T. (2010). Overview of Ugandan economic reform since 1986. In F. Kuteesa, E. TumusiimeMutebile, A. Whit-worth, & T. Williamson (Eds.)., Uganda's economic reforms; insider accounts (pp. 1-34). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

World Bank (2007). Uganda; beyond recovery. World Bank Country Economic Memorandum. Washington, DC: World Bank.

World Bank (2008). The growth report: Strategies for sustained growth and inclusive development. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Available online at

SciVerse ScienceDirect