Uganda offers free land to ICT investors

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The Ugandan government is offering free land to investors that plan innovative information and communication technology business initiatives, as a way of encouraging investment in the ICT sector in the country.

John Musajjakawa, a senior investment executive at Uganda Investments Authority (UIA), has urged experts in mobile communications and academia looking to establish businesses in the sector to ask the authority for the land on offer.

"We want more local companies but we don't discriminate [against] other companies so long as they qualify," said Musajjakawa to a group of experts who gathered for the first meeting of Mobile Monday Kampala, a new association of people in the mobile industry, academia and device users.

The land on offer is part of the 26 acres in the 25 industrial business parks which the government has allocated to investors. The parks are located in Mbarara, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Lira, Arua and Kampala. "Anyone with intelligent business projects can come," added Musajjakawa.

Uganda has been pursuing ICT sector stimulus projects for several years. In addition to the free land now on offer, the KiBO Foundation has offered free education in ICT and leadership skills since 2007. 140 students have graduated from courses since they started.

Patricia Ayo Otoa, an associate of KiBO Foundation, told The Observer that one of the most imperative things that can transform the Ugandan society is equipping students with practical skills. While ICT training is the main programme offered, Otoa stressed that students learn both software and hardware engineering. 

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.