By Spy Uganda
The government of Uganda has secured a UGX1.8 trillion (USD481 million) loan with the World Bank to fund the acceleration of its digital transformation program.
A report from Ecofin says the funds will be used to implement a nationwide connectivity project, which will begin later this year, extending the national fiber-optic backbone network to new areas of the country.
Reports state that Uganda has been working with the World Bank since 2016 on its Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (RCIP).
The Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP) was developed to accelerate the roll-out of information and communications technology (ICT) and to ensure that the infrastructure under construction along the Eastern and Southern African coast at that time would also benefit communities on inland areas and landlocked countries.
The World Bank supported this program for eight African countries, including Uganda. The implementation of the undersea fibre optic cables and landing stations as part of this program was led by the private sector, with funding from the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other partners. Additionally, terrestrial networks were developed to improve last-mile delivery.
According to World Bank statistics, there were 13.92 million internet users in Uganda in January 2022 and at the start of the same year, Uganda’s internet penetration rate stood at 29.1 percent of the total population.
For perspective, these user figures reveal that 33.85 million people in Uganda did not use the internet at the start of 2022, meaning that 70.9 percent of the population remained offline at the beginning of the year.