By Amule Daniel

The Government of Uganda secured funding in the amount of US$ 75 Million Equivalent IDA – World Bank for the financing of the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP) Phase 5 – Uganda Project.

Uganda becomes the 8th African Country to benefit from this initiative which aims to help address the regions connectivity constraints.  Other countries that have already benefited from the initiative include: Kenya, Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Comoros.

President Museveni was in Koboko district in Westnile region to launch the project that included the laying of Optical Fiber Cable across all major towns in West Nile namely: Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani and three border points of Uganda at Oraba with South Sudan, Vurra and Mpondwe with DR Congo, with transmission stations within these towns.

The aim of the project was intended to boost internet connectivity, create a secure high-speed network that connects all Government Ministries, Departments and Authorities, schools, hospitals, Universities, District Local Governments, Municipal councils and also lower internet costs from 70 USD to 50 USD per Mbps per month in West Nile region.

A regional approach has been implemented to mitigate the impact for landlocked countries which must rely on transiting traffic through neighboring countries; and enhance the viability of infrastructure increasing volume of traffic leading to reducing prices and improving regional affordability of broadband.

As part of the project, St Charles Lwanga is to receive computers to promote Information Communication Technology ICT, Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP) Phase 5 – Uganda Project will support the Government of Uganda in improving: (i) coverage for IT infrastructure in the country; (ii) the delivery of public services by improving efficiency through government cloud infrastructure (iii) Integration of Government IT systems (iv) building capacity in management of IT programs and projects; (v) improve policy and regulatory environment for ICT in country.

RCIP Uganda will complement existing ICT initiatives in the country, including the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and private sector investment by helping to bridge the financing and technical gaps. RCIP Uganda project aims to transform public service delivery using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to improve the lives of Ugandans.

The 6 year programme was designed, approved and became effective on 26th May, 2016 with development objectives of the proposed RCIP Uganda project being consistent with objectives of the RCIP Program as a whole, namely to support the Government’s efforts to: Lower prices for international capacity and extend the geographic reach of broadband networks (the connectivity development objective); and Improve the Government’s efficiency and transparency through e-Government applications (the transparency development objective).

It is anticipated that at the end of its implementation, the following direct benefits will accrue to Government and citizens of Uganda; Increase in ICT sector investment and competitiveness, and improved access to quality of ICT services for citizens, businesses, and government resulting from a conducive enabling environment, Improve in productivity and service delivery across all sectors, both public and private as a result of shared servicec, employment – stimulate job creation in new areas where it is extended (northern and western Uganda) through the construction and operation of networks and, importantly, by boosting entrepreneurship and self-employment, growth in the number of internet users, more intensive use of information-rich services with lower unit prices and greater choice, growth in locally-relevant content and applications due to faster, cheaper and more accessible platform, financial savings from not having to build duplicate infrastructure at individual MDAs as a result of shared public service delivery platform, saster and cheaper implementation of e-Government services in various sectors from not having to build duplicate infrastructure at individual MDAs, improve in transparency and efficiency of procedures and practices supported by e-Government service and new Services (e.g., mobile money and mobile banking or others) are likely to emerge or become more widely available to society. End