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President Museveni
Museveni was recently awarded with the highest honour bestowed to a respectable guest who has made an outstanding contribution to the cause of the African continent by his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. PPU PHOTO

EXCLUSIVE: Museveni Named Among Best Presidents in the World

Uganda's Museveni one of Global Leaders with Highest Impact on Economic Growth Rates in their country according to Research Findings by a New York University Professor and World Bank Economist
posted onJune 24, 2018
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By Max Patrick Ocaido

KAMPALA. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni  has been named among the best Presidents in the world in terms of influencing momentous economic growth in his country.

According to a report released by New York University Economics Professor, William Easterly and World Bank Economist Steven Pennings, President Museveni is among the best leaders on the list of leaders estimated to have had a significantly positive effect on their countries' economic growth.

Easterly and Pennings define the best leaders as any leaders for whom the estimated leader effect is positive and significant at the 95% level and the worst leaders are those with negative and significant leader effects.

Out of the 24 world leaders listed in the report, Museveni who has been President since 1986 comes as 12th best President, above many powerful leaders in the globe such as Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore and Park Chung-hee, former President of South Korea who served as the President from 1963 until his assassination in 1979.

Museveni is said to have steered economic growth in Uganda by a record 2.42% with only shrinkage of 0.78% since 1986.

According to Easterly and Penning’s findings titled “Shrinking dictators: how much economic growth can we attribute to national leaders?”, Senior General Than Shwe of Burma was ranked number one as the most influential leader who steered his country’s economic growth with 3.95% and shrinkage of 0.71%. Shwe is a Burmese strongman politician who was the head of state of Burma from 1992 to 2011 as Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

During this period, he held key positions of power including Prime Minister of Burma, Commander-in-chief of Myanmar Defense Services and head of the Union Solidarity and Development Association. In March 2011 he officially stepped down as head of state in favour of his hand-picked successor, Thein Sein, and as head of the Armed Forces, being replaced by general Min Aung Hlaing.

Museveni
The list of leaders showing President Museveni at number 12

According to this report that was released in May 2018, a small fraction of leaders have a statistically significant positive or negative growth.

“Leaders like Seretse Khama of Botswana and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda outrank Lee Kuan Yew in part because they did well relative to the lower average regional growth in sub-Saharan Africa compared to East and South Asia,” the report reads in part.

“Some surprising results for high positive estimated leader effects on growth are because the other leaders for the same countries were truly disastrous – examples of such relative successes include Hun Sen of Cambodia and (to a lesser extent) Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.”

Amin ranked

The same report also ranked former President Idi Amin Dada as the 5th worst leader in the world having caused an economic slump of -3.38% during his tenure from 1971 to 1979 with shrinkage of 0.69%.

The worst leader with at least 3 years tenure is Raoul Cédras, a military general who led the September 1991 coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first plausibly democratically elected leader. The coup led to a series of international trade sanctions that crippled Haiti’s economy in the following three years when Cédras was the de facto leader, resulting growth of -7%, 7%, and -14% (respectively) according to PWT9 -- Haiti’s worst three years of growth on record.

“Reviewing some of the best and worst leaders helps show why our method diverges so much from the prevailing practice of giving the leader credit for all of the raw growth average during his or her tenure,” the report reads.

Since coming to power in 1986, President Museveni has been at the helm of political and economic transformation that was at its lowest during the previous governments that climaxed with the rise to power of Idi Amin in 1971.

According to recent statistics released by Finance minister Matia Kasaija during the National Budget reading for FY 2018/19, Uganda’s infrastructural sector has reached its peak with the total length of paved roads standing at 5,350 kilometers, compared to only 987 kilometers in 1986.

In the new FY starting this July, government will prioritize road maintenance, in order to preserve key investments already made and also prioritize construction of 600km of Oil roads, and upgrading to tarmac of another 400 km of roads, and rehabilitation of 200km of existing roads and construction of 15 Bridges.

Statistics from ministry of Finance show that the quality of lives and standard of living of Ugandans have tremendously improved and incomes have increased with average per capita incomes nearly doubling in the last 8 years, from Shs1.35m in FY2009/10 to Shs2.68 in FY2017/18, in spite of rising population.

Uganda’s economy is expected to grow at 6% in FY 2018/19 and further grow by over 7% by FY2019/20, whilst the national unemployment rate has reduced from 11% to 8% and access to electricity grid has increased from 14 in 2013% to 22% in 2017 while access to water has risen from 68% to 78%.

By financial year 2005/2006, Uganda’s tax revenue collections per annum, were standing at Shs2.23 trillion compared to about Shs20trillion estimated to be collected in the next financial year.

Recently, a Centre at Havard, in the USA, predicted that Uganda will be one of the fastest growing economies in the world by 2026 or thereabout.

During the State of the Nation Address early this month, Museveni said that the NRM government has already negotiated and arranged with other African states to ensure the market integration of Africa (EAC, COMESA, CFTA), so as to provide capacity for the absorption of the  greater supply of goods and services produced by the Ugandans awakened to realize their potential.

This prevailing growth in economy has been attributed to robust peace and security that Uganda continues to enjoy under the NRM government. Uganda’s peace and stability has been stable since the defeat of Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA), Alice Lakwena, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and disarmament of Karamojongs in North-East Uganda.

About the Researchers 

William Easterly
Prof William Easterly. Courtesy photo

William Easterly: He  is Professor of Economics at New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute, which won the 2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Development Cooperation Award. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (March 2014), The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).

He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed academic articles, and has written columns and reviews for the New York TimesWall Street JournalFinancial Times, New York Review of Books, and Washington Post. He has served as Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics and as Director of the blog Aid Watch. He is a Research Associate of NBER, and senior fellow at BREAD. Foreign Policy Magazine named him among the Top 100 Global Public Intellectuals in 2008 and 2009, and Thomson Reuters listed him as one of Highly Cited Researchers of 2014. He is also the 11th most famous native of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Steven Pennings: He is an Economist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, Macroeconomics and Growth Team. His research interests include fiscal policy (especially fiscal transfers), economic growth, exchange rate pass-through, and monetary policy. 

pennings
Steven Pennings. Courtesy photo

He has worked at the Federal Reserve Board, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, as well as for Save the Children in Vietnam. He studied at New York University (PhD in economics).

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