Millions of Ugandans Lack Birth Certificates, Driving Permits

A National survey has indicated that majority of Ugandans lack birth certificates and driving permits, Chimp Corps report.

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child while birth registration is fundamental to the realization of other rights such as health, education and access to justice.

During the 2016/17 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS), data on birth certificates was collected from all usual and regular members regardless of their age.

However, this analysis is limited to persons aged below 18 years.

The results show that “overall, only one in every ten persons aged less than 18 years (11 percent) had a birth certificate.”

This would imply that millions of Ugandans can’t prove their birth in Uganda.

Yet, registering children at birth is a first step in securing their recognition before the law and safeguarding their rights.

Under the Registration of Persons Act, 2015, “registration of every birth within Uganda is free and compulsory”.


There was almost no variation in the proportions of persons possessing birth certificates by sex of household head.

The proportion of persons possessing birth certificates in urban areas was nearly twice that in rural areas (15 percent and 9 percent respectively).

There were regional variations with Central region having the highest percentage of the persons aged less than 18 years possessing birth certificates (12 percent) while Eastern region had the lowest (8 percent).

Compared to 2012/13, there was generally a decline in the proportions.

As if this is not enough, collected data on possession of driving permits for persons aged 18 years and above showed that “overall, only four percent of the population aged 18 years and above had valid driver’s licenses.”

According to the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998, Section 35(1), “No person shall drive shall drive any class of motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant on a road unless he or she holds a valid driving permit or a valid learner driving permit endorsed in respect of that group of motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant.”

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