Although microfinance is relatively new to the area, the growth and development of Ugandan microfinance institutions (MFIs) has been remarkable.
- Approximately 52 percent of the population of Uganda live on less than $1.25 a day
- Life expectancy is 51 years
- Health issues include HIV/AIDS (5.4 percent of the population aged 15-49 is HIV positive) and malaria
Microfinance has become a lively private industry serving Uganda's poor and has demonstrated substantial growth. It operates across urban and rural areas and concentrates on the lower income levels of society (the economically active poor), which comprise the overwhelming majority of the population.
Grameen Foundation began its work in Sub-Saharan Africa in Uganda. In 2002, Grameen Foundation and MTN Uganda launched MTN Village Phone as the first Village Phone program in sub-Saharan Africa. It was also the first replication of Village Phone outside of Bangladesh where it was pioneered by Grameen Telecom. Per our agreement, in 2006, we sold our stake of MTN Village Phone back to MTN Uganda, making a completely locally-owned company.
Currently, our Application Laboratory (AppLab) is working in Uganda to test, develop and scale mobile applications that can improve the lives and livelihoods in poor, underserved communities. We launched our first group of applications in 2009, in collaboration with Google and MTN Uganda.
In addition, our Community Knowledge Worker initiative is exploring how locally-based “trusted intermediaries” can meet the needs of small-holder farmers by providing information and other services through mobile phones. Launched in November 2008, the initiative is currently working in two regions in Uganda to disseminate information to help farmers improve their productivity and increase revenues and to collect information which can help others better meet their needs.