Uganda prime minister urges prioritizing broadband Internet access

A speech from Prime Minister Amama Mbabaziof Uganda urged East Africa to prioritize access to broadband Internet and satellite communication services for increased economic growth.

Prime Minister Mbabazi expressed his belief that developing countries like Uganda require broadband access for a variety of services like distance learning, e-health, e-government, and tele-marketing. This is in addition to delivering Internet access to residents and communities.

According to Prime Minister Mbabazi, Uganda will be better able to achieve its 2015 deadline for its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by improving its Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure. The prime minister has observed the rapid rate at which ICTs have expanded into sub-Sahara Africa, and how a majority of businesses depend on ICTs to help deliver their goods and services.

In support of the Prime Minister, Executive Director James Saaka of the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) cited a population of 4.8 million Internet users in Uganda by December 2011, making for an Internet penetration rate of 3.2 Internet users for every 100 users.

NITA-U, adds Director Saaka, has also completed setting up the first and second phases of the national ICT backbone infrastructure. The third phase is set to start during the next financial year, and will link together Mutukula and southwestern Uganda.

Prime Minister Mbabazi composed the speech. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the minister of ICT, read it during the opening of the East African regional conference on broadband and satellite communication at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The ministry of ICT, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), and the East African Communications Organisation (EACO) organized the conference, which hosted more than 250 representatives from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania as well as from Uganda.

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