Uganda IT Firm Sells USD 2.1Million in Shares to South Africa's MapIT
Ugandan information technology firm SatNav East Africa has sold a 26 per cent stake to South Africa’s MapIT.
SatNav East Africa chief executive Vincent Okema said the new arrangement involving shares worth $2.1 million will help the firm in its expansion drive in the East African region including South Sudan.
“MapIT will also provide us with all the technical support including improved digital maps across six east African countries,” Mr Okema said.
Digital address codes are special codes that provide precise address information about people’s residences and business.
MapIT is a South African IT firm that provides web mapping, mobile mapping, digital mapping services, location based services and location business intelligence across business, financial, fleet and logistics management as well as insurance industries in sub Saharan Africa.
Mr Okema said the firm has developed digital maps and address codes for the whole region that can be accessed at Ush50,000 ($19.6) and Ush200,000 ($78.5) for business persons while navigation devices go for between Ush600,000 ($235.5) and Ush1.3 million ($510).
He said navigation devices are linked to digital maps to give direction, identify points of interest such as hospitals or restaurants as well as help to sort out emergence cases.
“We have navigation devices that can guide you to any location whether in the village or in congested urban areas,” Mr Okema said.
The innovation, however, could be used as a unifying factor for the East African Community because of the universal address code system.
MapIT managing director Etienne Louw said the South African firm is ready to work with SatNav.
“With our detailed mapping datasets for Africa, we can assist SatNav East Africa in achieving its business goals,” Mr Louw said.
Uganda’s presidential advisor on information technology Dr Ham Mulira said the new technology will help the business community locally and internationally to identify their clients.
He said since the liberalisation of telecommunication companies in 1998, locating clients has not been possible over the years.
“In the olden days, if you received a phone call from a landline, you could easily identify the location where the person is calling from because of the areas codes,” Dr Mulira said.
MapIT is 51 per cent owned by Avusa Lt, a media conglomerate quoted on the Johannesburg stock exchange, through New Holland Publishing whereas TomTom Africa Ltted owns the remaining 49 per cent.
Currently MapIT covers 104 countries and territories and 34.8 million kilometres of road globally that include 10 countries and 1.7m kilometres coverage in southern Africa.
ISAAC KHISA The East African Newspaper 05-May-2012