Design of IT Incubation Center for Addis Ababa

Construction Design of IT Incubation Centre for Addis Ababa

The Ethiopian Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTDA) has contacted the Indian-based construction firm Voyants Solutions Private Limited (VSPL) to develop Ethiopia's first IT hub. A 200 Ha plot of land has been selected around Addis International Airport to develop this project. Construction is set to commence within late December and will be funded by the Ethiopian Government and the World Bank.

Government restrictions hinder ICT growth in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's ICT sector is heavily underdeveloped. While Government Officials have access to unlimited broadband connections, just 0.5% of Ethiopian citizens have access to the internet. In comparison, neighboring Kenya has a 9.7% penetration rate, while the Sudan has a 9.3% penetration rate. Even Somalia, which hasn't had a functioning Government since 1991 has a 1.1% penetration rate. So there's a severe Government imposed institutional monopoly of Ethiopia's ICT sector that's hindering it from developing to its full potential.

Even for Ethiopian citizens that can afford access, they are met with slow speeds, severe internet censorship and monitoring by Government Officials. Despite the many hurdles the Ethiopian regime puts in place,  it is very much essential the Government starts creating a robust ICT industry and stops restricting the ICT sector for political reasons. By developing this field, Ethiopia helps strengthen its economic dynamism and as well as enhance its socio-economic development that will open up new opportunities for its citizens.

According to Government data, a little over 4,000km of fiber optic cables exist in Ethiopia. Ethiopia also has an ambitious plan of creating 24,000km of fiber optic network by 2018. Moreover, the Government says it will put in place 3G service to improve the speeds of internet by 2013. All these signs, including with creating an IT hub are promising, however, the fundamental problem with Ethiopia's ICT industry is the severe Government restrictions and its monopoly over this sector. Ethiopia should allow private businesses independent of the Government to compete, which will bring competitiveness and drive the prices down to make it more affordable for the average citizen.