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Advertising, marketing and PR in Uganda is a developing but identifiable industry. There are numerous firms operating in the sector including the Ugandan firm E-World Marketing Consultancy and Nessigroup which operates across East Africa. Worldwide advertising brand WPP has five subsidiary firms in the country.
The Public Relation Association of Uganda (PRAU) was established in 1976 and includes PR professionals from both the public and private sectors. It is the principal PR body in Uganda and is affiliated with various international associations including the East African Public Relations Association (EAPRA), the African Public Relations Associations (APRA) as well as the International Public Relations Association (IPRA).
The marketing sector is developing and can be a lifelong career path in Uganda. It is possible to study for the internationally recognised, Chartered Institute of Marketers (CIM) certificate at the Uganda Management Institute. In 2012 the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association ltd (UWEAL) was given a grant by the East African Development Bank and the Nordic Development Fund to provide training in financial management and marketing for women in Uganda. Marketers work as freelance copywriters or, more commonly, in marketing, advertising and PR firms.
In 2005 the Uganda Media Centre (UMC) was established to provide professional media services between the government and the public. All candidates for elections are directed to put their messages through the media centre prior to placing advertisements in the press or on the internet.
The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013) shows that Uganda’s marketers make little use of sophisticated marketing techniques. They score 2.9 out of 7 in extent of marketing where 1 indicates that little use is made of sophisticated marketing techniques and 7 that marketers make extensive use of them. Uganda places below the world mean of 4.1 and in 130th place out of 144 countries worldwide. In terms of buyer sophistication Uganda ranks similarly, 127th out of 144 with a score of 2.5 out of 7, below the world mean of 3.5. In this scale a low score means that buyers make decisions based solely on price and 7 means that their choice is based on sophisticated analysis of performance attributes.
The advertising sector in Uganda has undergone rapid growth over the last 20 years from an industry consisting of little more than newspapers, and limited broadcast media to a range of print media, billboards, SMS broadcasts and digital and social media.
Technological development has not only widened the field but allowed for a different kind of integrated marketing campaign. For example, commercial radio and television channels offer airtime for advertising as well as corresponding advertisements on their websites.