Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — In three years time, Ethiopia will boast of an expansive knowledge facility, 'The Ethio ICT Park, costing just over $250 million. More than 12 local and international companies have already booked space.
Fronted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT), Ethio ICT Park will be situated on 200 hectares of land behind Bole International Airport in the Bole district.
Private operators have signed up for 25,000 square metre plots including China's ZTE and Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET) who will establish their own ICT incubation centres, manufacturing plants and software development centres.
According to media reports the complex will have internal roads, such as a 50 metre wide access road, a 40 metre wide arterial road, a 30 metre wide primary road and a 22 metre 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 government wants to give the local ICT community a substantial push forward by investing in the Park. It also hopes that Ethio ICT Park will encourage more Ethiopians to buy smart phones.
By the end of the year, Ethiopia will switch over to digital transmission from analogue.
According to officials, the documentation process is done and implementation will soon begin. Addis Alemayehu, a member o the high level board appointed to supervise the venture. He said: "Software that operates in local languages will also be developed in the park."
The feasibility study and design of the Park is being handled by WiPro IT Consulting, an Indian firm, who have worked on a similar project before.
The Park will be divided into five zones, which include business, assembly and warehouse, commercial, administration and knowledge Park.
The Park will have its own road infrastructure as well as supportive facilities including a food court, restaurants, pubs, karaoke lounges, medical facilities, financial services, postal and banking services.
According a recent African Development Bank report, while public sector investment in ICT in Africa has improved considerably over the last decade, the private sector continues to be the key driver for investment and has invested close to $50 billion over the last decade. 'In 2007, the private sector committed to increase investment in telecommunications from $35 billion to $50 billion by 2012,' the report states.