As a result of the government of Uganda acquiring large tracts of land for large-scale private investments in some parts of the country, together with the legacy of historical injustices from the colonial past, the vast majority of farmers in Uganda are smallholders. These large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) have negatively impacted on the rural poor, particularly women and the vulnerable that depend on land as their only source of livelihood, leading to growing land disputes.

In addition, despite land governance systems which aim to protect communal land and criminalise illegal evictions, it is increasingly evident they are failing to adequately protect smallholders from expropriation and other LSLAs by foreign and domestic interest groups.

These issues are compounded by accelerating population growth and extraction of natural resources, frequently resulting in land conflicts, eviction, and dispossession of vulnerable groups. Given the experience and complexities of historical challenges within different programmes of land tenure in Uganda, it is important to gather information that addresses concerns in each region, as well as identify what is necessary for effective land reform to occur.

For this reason, the establishment of the Uganda National Land Observatory (NLO) was essential; not only to coordinate data gathering that is useful to all stakeholders and aimed at supporting evidenced-based decision-making, but also to promote dialogue and action for the improvement of land governance that benefits those with the most insecure land rights.

What are National Land Observatories?

NLOs are funded activities at country level which initiate decentralised tasks and strive for more inclusive participation of local partners in collecting, managing, and reviewing land data, thereby promoting transparency and accountability in decision-making processes over land and investments in their countries.

NLOs are an important tool which:

  • Provide an opportunity for information-sharing and dialogue within existing multi-stakeholder platforms
  • Facilitate policy influence at national level (where most land governance decisions are made)

Working with partners, the overall objective of the Uganda NLO is to facilitate the generation and analyses of data, share information about LSLAs in the country, and widen participation of all stakeholders in more informed, inclusive land governance debate, advocacy, research, and policy.

These partners include the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda, ActionAid Uganda, Africa Centre for Media Excellence and UN Pulse Lab-Kampala, Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) and Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), and Coalition of Pastoralist Civil Society Organisations (COPACSO).

Criteria for land deals

The Uganda NLO covers all domestic and transnational deals, including agriculture, forestry, mining, ranching, livestock, and the other intentions, after the year 2000. Importantly, all deals from 50ha are included, rather than the global Land Matrix standard of 200ha.

Joseph Wangusa:

Find out more about LSLAs in Uganda through our map, dataset, and charts below.

Are you interested in establishing a National Land Observatory in your country? Or are you part of an independent land governance structure or initiative that could benefit from our support? If so, we invite you to get in touch!

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Uganda Land Observatory

The Uganda Land Observatory has developed a dynamic new website dedicated to capturing existing knowledge and collecting new data on land deals in the country. The goal of the Uganda Land Observatory is to strengthen land governance and improve transparency in land transactions to promote greater consistency with the Africa Framework and Guidelines on Land Policies in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs), as well as contribute to policy, research, equitable decision-making, and advocacy activities promoting global best practice for sustainable development goals in Uganda.

Visit the Uganda Land Observatory here.

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Use customisable filters to explore the web-based geographic information systems (GIS) map for information about land deals from global down to regional and country level.


Search the dataset through pre-configured entry points where deals have been grouped by common shared attributes (such as nature of investment, region, or investor), filter information according to your line of interest, or drill down to single deals where you can provide feedback and start a discussion through comments.


Generate your own infographics using a wide selection of charts to illustrate information about deals, such as the global flow of transnational land acquisitions, the total size and number of deals, and a breakdown of deals according to sector and interest. 

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News and Publications

Land deals threaten to impair River Nile

Author: Fredrick Mugira

Source: New Vision

Published: 26 March 2019

In the hilly southwestern region of Uganda, a life-line river of about five million people has had up to 80 percent of its water dry up. The national environment watchdog, NEMA, says the prime factor drying Rwizi River is illegal …

Read more

Land Matrix National Land Observatory launched in Uganda

By Israel Bionyi Nyoh, Communications Specialist Africa, International Land Coalition Africa

Uganda has new combat gear – and it’s not going to be used to tear down homes and destroy lives. Instead it will arm the country with a platform to fight for land rights, peace and justice, and comes …

Read more