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Uganda becoming a digital hub

Dec 16 • 866 views • No Comments on Uganda becoming a digital hub Guest posts

Welcome to Diary of a Muzungu! This week’s guest post is written by Abigail Morgan.

According to an article published on the Africa News web site, Uganda has been named by foreigners as one of the best destinations for expats to work and retire. Countries like Switzerland may be safer and have a higher standard of living and excellent schools but the cost of living is extremely high, according to a global survey on expats carried out by Expat Insider.

The findings from the aforementioned study clearly show that more and more foreigners are now calling Uganda home.

Since the 1980s, Uganda has been rebuilding from the devastation of  civil war and the subsequent economic downturn. Today, the country has a relatively peaceful, stable, and thriving environment. Most expats in Uganda are NGO workers, journalists, diplomats, businesspeople and aid workers but soon, it seems that the country could be populated by IT experts from all over the world.

Google Project Link-Kampala Uganda

Google Project Link-Kampala Uganda

In October this year, Google completed installation of an 800 km fiber ring around Kampala in order to create a shared infrastructure resource that can be leased back to Ugandan network operators. It was a big move by Google, allowing all Internet service providers in the country to share cable routing below ground level. The shared fiber ring has been installed in the hope it will help connect all of Africa to the Internet in the next couple of years.

Map of Google Project Link-Kampala Uganda

Map of Google Project Link-Kampala Uganda

Africa’s tech industries are recognised as some of the fastest growing markets in the world. Google installed the fiber ring in anticipation of these markets’ further growth over the next decade. During the last 5 years, East Africa has become somewhat of a networking hub for IT experts, thanks to the rise of the so-called Silicon Savannah around Nairobi between 2007-2010.

Many other IT projects have thrived in the region. These include the establishment of M-Pesa, which is a mobile money platform that is used by more than 20 million Kenyans. The installation of Google’s 3,100-mile fiber optic cable along the ocean floor between Mombasa and the UAE, is aimed at helping East Africa’s tech industries gain further ground and produce more innovative companies like M-Pesa in the future.

Nairobi X game screenshot

Screenshot from Nairobi X computer game

With Uganda’s latest advancements in IT, as well Africa’s in general, it would seem that the gaming industry has also started to take notice of the continent’s potential. Today, several startups are investing in Africa, with big names such as Celestial Games and Kuluya leading the way. Games are also being created using African themes to tap into the fledgling market, with the latest being Nairobi X – a downloadable action game for Android. On casual gaming sites, it’s also noticeable how several African-themed titles are now being included in their games collections  such as Go Wild on Safari and Prowling Panther, both of which are hosted on the gaming site Spin Genie. The digitalisation of Africa has made the continent the new centre of attention for businessmen, IT and gaming development teams.

In the future, experts are foreseeing a much stronger Ugandan economy. The influx of expats and the investment pouring into the country, most notably in the IT sector, seem to point to that.

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