Indian Investor to Build US$200m ICT Park in Uganda

Lake Victoria Information/Communication Technology and Biotechnology Limited (LAVIT), a joint venture between India's United Telecoms Limited (UTL) and Uganda's Jinja Institute of Technology, has applied for a license to build a US$200 million ICT and biotechnology park in Uganda.

According to information available at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), LAVIT aims to develop Uganda's human resource capacity in the telecommunications and IT service domain. On a larger scale, LAVIT hopes to open up the resource pool of young people in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to the global ICT and biotechnology industry.

According to documents filed at UIA, the park will provide a modern environment for the economic rejuvenation of Jinja town, where the park will be situated. The facilities will include a hardware and software innovation center, a biotechnology innovation center and what has been called a multinational engineering design center. The park will be given a special economic zone status and, according to Sheila Karungi of UIA, will enjoy the benefits of being one of the first projects of its kind in East and Central Africa.

LAVIT has justified the $200 million investment to UIA by stating that Uganda enjoys preferential access to the European Union, the U.S., Canada and Japan. The paperwork goes on to say that Uganda enjoys bilateral trade opportunities with the U.K., Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Mauritius - markets that Uganda can access with the IT exports that will come out of the park.

According to LAVIT, reduced tariffs in Uganda make the country's products competitive.

A feasibility study, which commenced in January, is currently underway and will be completed before breaking ground on the park.

According to information available on the company Web site, UTL is a Bangalore-based ICT solutions company with wide experience in setting up telecom networks, e-governance networks and solutions in the transport sector. UTL boasts more than eight manufacturing facilities spread throughout Bangalore, the IT hub of India.

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