With an estimated population of 34 million (approximately 67% literate), Uganda has seven telecom operators. The country’s mobile penetration stands at 33.5 per cent, with 10.5 million telephone subscribers at the end of 2010. Uganda’s teledensity rose from 0.28 percent in 1998, to 4.2 percent in 2004, 12 per cent in 2006, 20 per cent in early 2008, and 22 percent by July 2008. Teledensity currently stands at 52%.
Mobile Internet connectivity is the dominant form of internet access in Uganda. An estimated 3.5 million 20 per cent of the population are internet users.
Uganda has East Africa’s pioneer policy on universal access. The main objective of the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) established in 2001 were to provide access to basic communications services within a reasonable distance to all people in Uganda, leverage investment into rural communications development, and promote ICT usage.
Few Ugandans participate in civic matters, thereby undermining efforts to promote and monitor democracy and transparency in the conduct of public affairs. This has created fertile ground for poor service delivery and for corruption to flourish. For various reasons, a big number of Ugandans never take part in any community activities or debates on governance, and a great number do not register to vote. Many who are registered voters often never cast their votes. For instance, only 59% of registered voters cast their ballots in the February 2011 presidential election. The proliferation of ICT however presents an opportunity to those who are otherwise indifferent to civic affairs to play an active role. Indeed, there is evidence that ICT is being used to support engagement between the leaders at various levels and their subjects.