In the current economic environment of on-going global financial and economic instability, microfinance lies at the heart of Africa’s efforts at delivering inclusive socioeconomic development. Microfinance offers significant opportunities for African countries such as Uganda to fully unleash the private sector’s potential and contribute to addressing emerging and long lasting development challenges such as poverty, income inequality, and high levels of unemployment, particularly amongst youth.
Formal microfinance institutions started to operate in Uganda in the beginning of the 90’s. The industry has since then experienced a strong growth and the Ugandan microfinance industry is now one of the largest in Africa. According to an extensive survey conducted in 2010, there were 2745 actors engaged in providing financial service for poor people. This number includes standard banks, international and domestic NGOs as well as for-profit companies. The majority of the providers where non-regulated companies and NGOs registered under the cooperative Societies Act. In total, there were 350 00 active borrowers when the study was conducted. 
The survey from 2010 further reveals that despite the rapid growth in the microfinance industry, active borrowers as a percentage of the adult population has actually decreased. The 350 000 borrowers consisted only three percent of the adult population (aged 18-65) in 2010. Further, even with the increased popularity of mobile banking, only 44 percent of the adult Ugandans (15 years and older) were financially included, meaning that they had access to either a savings account in a bank, a mobile bank account or both, in 2014. Hence, the market for microfinance in Uganda is far from saturated.
MFIs in Uganda have proven successful. Of around 100 of the larger operating MFIs are members of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Uganda, about 86% of them reported positive returns (after taxes and grants). The overdue loans averaged about 10% of total portfolios. These organizations have had a profound, positive impact on life for the Ugandan poor, with over 3.1 million clients and $267 million in outstanding loans.
Learn more about microfinance in Uganda here:
Uganda Bureau of statistics. (2010). 2010 Census of Microfinance Institutions. Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. http://www.rfspug.org/downloads/Microfinance%20Census%20Report%202010%20-%20UBOS.pdf
The World Bank Financial Inclusion Data / Global Findex for Uganda, http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/country/uganda acc. 2016-01-13
Mapping microfinance, Uganda report, http://ds.haverford.edu/mappingmicrofinance/reports/uganda acc. 2016-01-13