(Ecofin Agency) - The Ugandan government has been taking several steps to speed up internet adoption in the country where the penetration rate stands at 53%. Recently, the government took a loan of about $496 million from the World Bank to achieve this goal.
Internet cost has been halved in Uganda, from $70 to $35. Chris Baryomunsi (pictured), Minister of ICT and National Guidance, revealed the reduction last Tuesday, August 1. This was during a press briefing with the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U). The price adjustment took effect the same day.
According to the minister, "this price reduction means that government agencies connected to the NBI [National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure, Ed] will consume the Internet at the lowest market price."
The measure is part of the actions undertaken by the Ugandan government to accelerate digital transformation in order to support economic recovery, create unlimited opportunities for youth, and achieve "Vision 2040". Last March, the government received Sh1,800 billion ($496.2 million) from the World Bank to extend Internet access in the country. The project plans to extend the national fibre optic backbone to connect all rural areas and hard-to-reach areas.
"We expect the knock-on effect of the government's price reduction to influence the average market cost and, therefore, lower rates for end-users, whether they are businesses or citizens," says Hatwib Mugasa, CEO of NITA-U.
As a reminder, Uganda has 23.5 million active subscribers to Internet services according to the latest statistics from the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC). This figure represents a penetration rate of 53%.
Isaac K. Kassouwi