The satellite system - code named the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) VAST (Very Small Aperture Terminal) Satellite - uses high speed internet bandwidth and is going to be rolled out in 21Comesa sites within the next few months.
Launching the Comesa VAST, the State Minister for Trade, Mr Nelson Gaggawala said with the VAST satellite communications equipment in place, Uganda's trade volumes with Comesa member states will increase.
"The system allows countries to exchange information and data on trade and commerce there by reducing their communication budgets. We expect to receive a bandwidth worth 1,064 kbps doubling what we have been receiving in the recent past. Thus you realise that our internet will be four times faster," he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Mr Peter Orone Atipo, said the Comesa bloc takes 40 per cent share of Uganda Uganda's total exports.
Trade within Comesa region has been greatly hampered by poor information flow. In October 2007, Comesa introduced the idea of joint communications within the Comesa, EAC, Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
According to the programme, the work will be deployed at the four Regional Organsations: Comesa, EAC, IGAD and IOC in the following countries: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The VAST network is part of the Regional ICT Support Programme funded by the 9th European Development Fund.
The total cost of the equipment, installation and integration is Euro1, 116 million. and will be covered by the project. Member states are required to pay for the operating and management costs for the three months, which for the first three years is Euro1, 447,812.00.
The total population in Comesa sub region is 400 million people.