August 7, 2011

IT in Uganda

Filed under: Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 5:16 pm
Tags: ,

I was having tea the other night with a Ugandan and a couple of others who had been to, and were working in, Uganda. Someone asked me the question “You’re in IT, how did you find IT in Uganda?”
Well… thankfully I brought my laptop with me. So everything I needed to do – like download photos, prepare and view my sermons etc was all done on that. When I needed to access the internet, I used Mike’s laptop. Mainly I didn’t bother. But Mike didn’t have a printer. So if I needed something printed out, that was a different story. The week I was at Ben’s church, we decided to teach them some songs, so I wanted to print out the words for them (got to be easier to read than my handwriting I figured). So I saved my files in pdf, word and text files just to be sure, copied them to a sub folder on my memory stick (big mistake) and headed down to the stage area to get them printed out. I mean, how hard can it be to get a file printed out?
All up I tried about 3 places. They couldn’t open pdf files – they didn’t have a pdf viewer installed. Then they couldn’t open my word document in a readable format (don’t ask me why, they had their pirated office installed!) Another place couldn’t see my files in the subdirectory in windows explorer – so anything on my memory stick in sub directories was invisible to that pc (I had never ever heard of that happening). I was a bit amazed that they couldn’t open pdf files, I mean pdf viewers are free on the internet after all!
So after all that, I gave up. I didn’t bother trying to print anything after that – I wrote everything out. The only time I visited an internet cafe was in Tanzania and while I eventually got what I wanted, it took so long that by the end I was pretty frustrated and I missed out on seeing the town – but at least it was cool in there I guess.

You can just catch the “Internet cafe” sign to the left of the photo near the motorbike. That was one of three around that area. Dust everywhere, surprised the pc’s run at all!

The internet cafe at the stage

About the internet in Uganda… It is UNRELIABLE at best! Admittedly it wasn’t too bad when I was there, but since then, if the power’s up, the internet’s down and vice versa. At least the speed, while slow, is reasonably decent considering.



  1. About software piracy, at first first even BUYING was hard because they were very scare in the market. I think Bill Gates and his associates did not take IT in Africa seriously initially and this left a vacuum for piracy. About the internet in Uganda, what you experienced recently is a thousand times better than what was here 3+ years back. Can you imagine an office block connection at 214 kbs??? Orange Telecom has made a huge improvement to the sector. But the electricity problem just got worse!

    Comment by a70667 — August 7, 2011 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

    • And to add to the piracy problem, I dunno how expensive licenses are over there for MS stuff, but over here it is hugely expensive. If comparatively they’re just as expensive in Uganda/Africa, then that’s always going to contribute to piracy.
      I can believe the internet speed was much worse and I do wonder how the offices got along (and get along now). Has Orange been a viable competitor for MTN? Has it forced them to lift their game?

      Comment by pearsey — August 7, 2011 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

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