The UK-based Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) has announced that it is supporting a project to set up a dedicated information technology commercial park in Uganda, with the aim of creating 12,000 jobs and indirect labour generation of 20,000 jobs.

The 500-acre project, located midway between Kampala’s city centre and the airport, is intended to provide a comprehensive and secure IT and business services park within a ‘satellite’ city.

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Explaining the reason behind choosing Uganda for the project, Dr Mohan Kaul, director-general of CBC, said: “One of the best things about Uganda is its people. The country has a highly literate population, knowledgeable and skilled workforce. We can use the knowledge and skill base available, like in India, and turn Uganda into the Bangalore of Africa. One possibility could be to set up an IT park, which is a model successfully implemented in a number of other countries.”

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is due to take place in Uganda in November, making the country ideal for such a project, the CBC said. Timing is crucial for the scheme – with the Commonwealth Business Forum slated for year-end, project backers said they were confident of attracting the required FDI for the project development.

Mahesh Ramachandran, director, CBC projects and finance, said: “There is a potential for $200m annual exports of IT and IT-related services. There will be job creation for 12,000 employees directly and indirect labour generation will be to the tune of 20,000.”

The park would seek to attract offshore development centres, call centres, back-office operations, data-processing centres and data centres. In addition to office space, the park will include apartments, hotels, convention centres and malls, as well as schools and hospitals.

The CBC said it would work closely with the Ugandan government on the project and would be involved in setting and preparing the country’s IT policy. It would also be involved in setting up an Africa Regional Association of Software & Services Companies in Uganda (similar to NASSCOM in India); co-ordinating with the Ugandan Investment Board to attract FDI and promoting Uganda as an IT outsourcing destination; and encouraging the sharing of best practices on IT exports between the Commonwealth countries.