26 million Ugandans share less than 1/2 million computers

In an age where people in the developed world can access the internet on their mobile phones, over 70 per cent of Ugandans have never heard of the word writes Davis Weddi.

There are less than 200,000 computers serving a population of 26 million Ugandans, and in addition to that, more than 70 per cent of them have never heard of the internet, a recent research on e-usage in Uganda has revealed.

On average, there is roughly only one computer for every 100,000 people in Uganda.

The research conducted by Makerere University’s Directorate for Information and Communications Technologies Support (DICTS) was released last week in Kampala.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director Patrick Masambu said the research findings have been vital in informing the proposed new Telecom policy making process.

The proposed new policy is expected to feature in parliament this month.

Masambu said UCC injected over USD 50,000 for the research while other NGOs like Canada’s International Development Research Centre gave over USD 75, 000. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics was also involved.

The outcome of this research will also be very valuable to the private sector especially the telecom service providers, as it will help them make informed decisions on what services to give Ugandans.

Dr. Francis Tusubira, the DICTS Director and head of the research said this house-hold based survey looked into who was using information and communication technologies, where and how users got access, their age and at what cost they bought ICT services, and the rural-urban and gender divides in usage.

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