Uganda, China sign pact to boost internet access

ICT Minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi and Chinese counterpart Jin Zhuanglong shake hands after the two countries signed a pact on digital transformation on October 19. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • The pact was signed in Beijing, the capital of China, where the China-Africa digital capacity-building cooperation forum was held.

Uganda has signed a pact with the People’s Republic of China to boost development, cooperation and digital transformation.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance, speaking to this publication yesterday in an interview, said the government has been working with China to lay the backbone infrastructure to ensure everyone has internet.

“China is ahead of us in terms of technology and has been a key pillar in connecting internet cables to different parts of the country. Through this cooperation, we shall build new infrastructure, equipment, training and provide services to all Ugandans,” Mr Baryomunsi said.

He added: “We are now linking urban and rural areas using the China companies to ensure that no one is left behind and we want everyone to enjoy internet connectivity. We are building towers so that we have full internet coverage.”

The pact was signed on October 19 in Beijing, the capital of China, where the China-Africa digital capacity-building cooperation forum was held.

According to the Uganda Communication Commission 2022 Market Performance report, the total number of internet-enabled gadgets connected to the networks stood at 10.9 million, as at June 2022.
This implies that about 20 percent of the population in Uganda is connected to the internet.

Dr Baryomunsi said the cooperation will help extend internet connectivity to rural areas, which in turn will lower the cost of internet.

“If we are to improve the lives of Ugandans, we should have transformed society from a peasant to modern society by 2040. We want to see digital transformation in all government departments, ministries and agencies,” he said.

Mr Jin Zhuanglong, the Chinese minister of Industry and Information Technology, said: “We shall fortify policy exchanges, orchestrate the hallowed China Africa digital forum, entwine our respective strengths, forge a fertile business environment.”