IT infrastructure is key to Uganda development

Posted on August 8, 2014 06:15 am

Three years ago, Uganda business leader outlined one of the biggest challenges facing ‘pearl of Africa’ which was by then the internet connection. Since then, Ugandan government has invested heavily on national backbone connectivity. Also, there has been launch of the latest 4G technology that will allow Internet users to enjoy super-fast access.Uganda is one of the feistiest growing economies in Sub Saharan Africa and only second to Sierra Leone. As an emerging economy with a gross domestic product close to $23 billion, Uganda must upgrade itself from developing to middle income nation status. That, however, is more easily said than done. A recent study by an American think tank noted only less than five percent of middle-income nations manage to make the leap and the challenge for Uganda is how to be part of the 5 percent exception and the key is digitalisation of its economy.There’s need as well to push for the technology, media and telecommunication industries to grow faster.

It is expected that the 4G technology will play a critical role as it will not only let consumers enjoy better Internet services but allow companies to also transfer data and information faster and more securely. This will boost efficiency. The nationwide implementation of 4G technology is expected to potentially boost the country’s GDP by five percentage points per year. That translates into millions of new high-paying jobs and the emergence of new industries. It means Ugandan entrepreneurs can experiment with new ideas in ways they never dreamed of doing before.Uganda has not excelled at ICT and information technology so far compared with its regional neighbouring countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. While it has a talent pool of computer experts, the country has not been able to produce many IT engineers. With the introduction of 4G technology, that will change. But the private sector cannot do this by itself. The government needs to get involved and invest heavily in new IT and broadband services. The payoff will be huge and it will provide the platform for Uganda to become a middle income economy in the next few years.

Contador Harrison