Up to date information technology continues to be a foundation for business growth worldwide. In Uganda, where small and mid-sized businesses are an important factor for the local economy, the lack of high-quality and affordable software has been a major obstacle to business growth.
Now, Microsoft has teamed up with the U.N. to breakthrough the barriers to expansion by creating the Uganda Green Computer Company, in the capital city of Kampala. The company receives three to four-year old PCs donated by American corporations and refurbish them. The Uganda Green Computer Company is funded primarily by private and public sector investors with a business model that focuses on environmental and commercial sustainability. The company will aim to refurbish 10,000 quality-brand PCs a year and resell them at a retail price estimated to start at $175 (299,000 Ugandan shillings), one-third of the price of a new business PC. The PCs will include a one-year warranty and genuine Windows software.
Proving their committed to environmentally friendly practices, Uganda Green Computer Company offers a free program for the return of the refurbished computers at the end of their lifetime. The PCs will be disassembled responsibly and the company will reuse any working components such as RAM, re-sell valuable materials such as copper and circuit boards and recycle steel and plastics locally. The company is also working with regional recyclers to dispose of toxic substances properly.
A computer purchased from the Uganda Green Computer Company affordable to small business owners such as coffee farmers who can use a computer to manage orders and keep inventory.
“The opening of the PC refurbishment centre in Kampala marks a major step forward for the economic opportunities available to SMEs, the majority of employers in Uganda,” said Ham-Mukasa Mulira, minister of information and communications technology of Uganda. “Access to affordable PCs will help SMEs increase their productivity, share information, grow their business, create local jobs and ultimately help make Uganda a more competitive, knowledge-based economy.”