Uganda’s ICT sector is a dynamic and vibrant sector and has registered double digit growth over the last few years with bulk of investment expenditure in the roll out of mobile broadband solutions and Internet related infrastructure.
Investment in the sector is expected to continue to grow as the new service providers expand their networks coupled with the expenditure for the 3rd phase of the national backbone infrastructure network.
Currently the ICT sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product has increased to 6.2% (GDP 2012) from 2.5% in 2006 and is considered as a major contributor to national revenue. The sector has attracted an investment in excess of US $73 Million employing over 1 million people.
The Ugandan ICT market is growing at a cumulative annual growth rate of over 25% with significant growth seen in areas of mobile devices, computer applications, information processing, storage and dissemination as well as mobile finance, e-finance, global connectivity and online trade. The growth changes have had a profound impact in the whole Ugandan economy, making the ICT sector an important part of the economy – between 2007 and 2009, over $1bn was invested in this sector. Important sub-sectors include:
Telecommunications and mobile telephony:
Uganda has four major telecom companies offering mobile and fixed data, text and voice services. By January 2013 there were over 18 million subscribers.
The subsector is regulated by the Uganda Communications Commission and has exhibited very stiff competition among operators in terms of price, quality of service and range of services provided. The current competition is based on mobile money provision & transactions, e-payments and speed of internet usage
FM Radio and Television Broadcasting
The liberalisation of airwaves by the government in 1993 led to growth in television and radio broadcasting with involvement of a number of local and international players. Together with other partner states in the East African Community, Uganda is implementing digital migration. The Uganda Communications Commission expects the migration to be complete by the end of 2013.
Convergence, Broadband and Internet Markets
The strong growth of fixed line networks, deployment of wireless WiFi/ WiMAX hotspots and launch of 3G mobile broadband services in the country have led to rapid growth of internet usage. The cost of international bandwidth has been reduced dramatically following the landing of the first international submarine fibre optic cables on the East African coast in 2010.
Information Technology Hardware and Software
There has been growing entry of a number of companies that deal in technology solutions, ICT human resource outsourcing, ICT training solutions, infrastructure and software/hardware solutions, enterprise solutions, and support and business management solutions. The Makerere University faculty of Computing & IT in Kampala has launched an $8m National Software Incubation centre, the first incubation centre in East Africa. Already a number of top technology companies like Google, IBM and Nokia are involved with the NSIC.
Business Process Outsourcing
Uganda is making several initiatives to develop the ICT/BPO industry. The most common in Uganda are customer support services and data process services. Transactional BPO services and skilled value added BPO services have gained strength in the market. There is a growing interest in High End Skilled Value Added BPO services including software development, legal support, and medical and engineering services.
Investment opportunities within the ICT sector are especially in the following:
Setting up ICT infrastructure in Telecommunications
Business Process Outsourcing
National IT Parks
Software and hardware industry
Digital TV Broadcasting
Postcode and addressing system
Provision of ICT-enabled Services E.g. Data Processing, Call centres, e-Banking and ATM network installations, etc
Data warehousing and data management.
ICT Training facilities and Institutions. ICT-related courses are now among the highest ranked courses in public and private universities in Uganda with students having to obtain very high grades for admission
Setting up film production centres E.g. animations
Setting up information Hubs and Websites to facilitate e-mails, e-commerce, e-health and others
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Recent infrastructure development, Uganda’s geographical and time zones location as well as the big pool of skilled but cheap labour force favour investment in the outsourcing services.
Getting into the market
The government is keen to encourage growth of the ICT sector and has waived taxes on computers and computer related equipment to encourage the growth of the ICT sector and its services. ICT companies do also benefit from the general government incentives in initial allowances and deductible annual allowances, which are highest in computer and data handling equipment.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Racheal Tukamunbona, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Olanya, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda . Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: email@example.com
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.