Ministry Awards AFRICOM to Develop New Portal


The portal can facilitate the ease of doing business in Ethiopia




AFRICOM Technologies Plc is to develop a new one-stop shopping portal aiming to provide public services to ICT investors through one window from anywhere in the world. The total cost of the project is close to six million Birr.

The Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT) sent an award letter to AFRICOM on April 19, 2017.

The new portal will integrate the government offices concerned with business license registration and Ethio-ICT village.

Previously, the International Climate Fund (ICF) has made a similar agreement with the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority for the establishment of an electronic single window system with a cost of 4.3 million dollars.

Ministry of Trade, Ethiopian Investment Commission, Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority and Document Authentication Registration Office are among 14 government offices which will be integrated after the development of the new portal.

The new portal, known as one-stop shopping, will be unique to the ICT sector, as it will work to provide integrated services to innovators, local companies and to foreign investors.

Upon completion in the next nine months, the portal will enable ICT investors to access these institutions from any parts of the world.

“The new portal will enable IT companies to focus on their innovation,” said Baheru Zeyenu, CEO of AFRICOM technologies. “It will reduce time-consuming processes as they can get everything in a single window.”

The new portal also enables users to get utility services from Ethio telecom, Addis Ababa Water & Sewerage Authority, Postal service, banks and insurances, and municipality services anywhere.

When the portal becomes operational it will help to manage tasks that consume weeks and months in no more than a day.

“The moment the request reaches to an officer’s desk, it will start counting and if there is no response it will direct the request to the next higher officer to get an answer,” said Baheru. “This helps to reduce bureaucratic service prevailed in government offices.”

The portal is also expected to enhance Ethiopia’s competitiveness in the international market.

Currently, Ethiopia ranks 159 out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business, showing no changes compared with the preceding fiscal year.

The new portal comes in a time where the country has started an effort to develop e-commerce. This will allow the country to get online payment systems. Upon completion, the ministry will administer the portal.

“Until the ministry develops its capacity, we might look after the new portal,” said Baheru.

Founded a decade ago, Africom has developed more than 152 portals in the country. Online passport application system and integrated urban landholding file management system are among the major works of Africom.

The ICT sector in Ethiopia has seen a sizeable growth over the past decade. Two years ago, the country completed the construction of an ICT Park with a cost of two billion Birr. More than 220 companies registered to get a plant inside the park so far.

The state giant Ethio telecom is also developing its new headquarters inside the park with a cost of three billion Birr.

Ethiopia ranked very low, at 169th out of 175 countries, on the 2016 ICT Development Index, a report published by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union.

The contribution of ICT to the GDP in Ethiopia is below 10pc.



By ELLENI DEREJE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on May 02,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 888]


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