Huawei E220 HSDPA USB modem.
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Africa-Asia Confidential

August 2011, Vol. 4, No. 10

As Huawei Technologies hits trouble in Uganda, Chinese communications projects encounter legal problems from East Africa down to Southern Africa

Uganda may miss the East African Community’s deadline of December 2012 for all member states to switch from analogue to digital television. In early August, Uganda’s communications regulator sounded the alarm, saying that the state-run broadcaster, the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, may fail to deliver Uganda from analogue to digital technology by the 2012 deadline. The migration project has also raised concerns because rival companies in Europe had offered better deals before UBC chose China’s Huawei Technologies, according to sources close to the situation. The regulator is now considering stripping UBC of its monopoly as sole digital provider.

In late July, Ugandan parliamentarians halted the lucrative telecoms deal awarded to Huawei in August 2010 over concerns about the awarding procedure. Huawei had signed a US$74 million deal with UBC for the supply of digital migration equipment. The Ugandan authorities froze the deal and sacked UBC’s management while the Inspector General of Government conducts an investigation.

‘The contract was not awarded in accordance with the procurement laws so we were forced to halt it,’ Keith Muhakanizi, Deputy Secretary to the Ugandan Treasury and the Ministry of Finance and Planning, told Africa-Asia Confidential. The Ministry accused UBC of not opening the deal up for competitive bidding before awarding the contract. UBC, however, said that it followed the specifications of China’s Export-Import Bank grant which is funding part of the migration project…Read more.