24 March 2013

Ethiopia: New ICT Park Costing 5 Billion Br Materialises

ZTE, Techno Mobile already obtained 25,000sqm land each to establish own incubation centres

The Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MoCIT) is to start the construction of an ICT Park, called ethio ICT, with a total financial outlay of five billion Br. The Park is aimed at boosting information technology services and offering reliable mobile broadband infrastructure in the country.

The construction of the Park, whose design is finalised with construction set to begin within a month, is planned to be hosted on 200ha of land behind Bole International Airport, in Bole District, according to Brehane Keleta, manager of the project.

Private operators, ZTE, Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET) have obtained 25,000sqm plots, each, to establish their own ICT incubation centres, manufacturing plants and software development centres in the Park.

More than 12 local and international companies have also registered and taken office space in the Park, according to Brehane.

"Softwares that operate in local languages will also be developed in the Park," said Addis Alemayehu, member of the board of directors of ICT-ET, a sectoral association, and managing director of 251 Communications, a communications firm. Addis presented the plans of the Park at the 11th Innovation Africa Digital Summit, held last week at the Sheraton Hotel, wherein Mekonnen Manyazewal, minister of Industry, inaugurated the plan.

The village is envisioned to have internal roads, such as a 50m wide access road, a 40m wide arterial road, a30m wide primary road and a 22m wide secondary road, in addition to a convention centre and petrol stations. It will also include supportive facilities, such as a food court, restaurants, pubs and karaoke lounges, medical facilities, financial services, postal and banking services.

The Park is to also host institutional supporting facilities such as child care centres, training centres, estate management, a fire station, police customs, and recreational facilities.

"It will be completed in three years," said Brehane, in a press conference after the Summit.

Hosted companies involved in manufacturing and export will be provided with a two to seven year income tax exemption, in line with their export proportion, Fortune learnt.

The feasibility study and design of the Park is undertaken by WiPro IT consulting, an Indian company, where the model is adopted from.

The Park will be divided into five zones, which include business, assembly and warehouse, commercial, administration and knowledge Park.

The Ethiopian government has a plan to boost mobile subscription in the country by 20 million in its five-year plan, dubbed the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), ending in 2014/15. It also envisions raising the number of internet service subscribers to 3.69 million.

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